Isnin, 10 Februari 2014


Being A Tour Manager

Nowadays, tourism has become a significant global industry. According to The United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Malaysia is ranked as the 9th most visited country in the world. With tourism industries booming worldwide, there is plethora of opportunities available in a multitude of fields. One of a broad range challenging positions in the industry where tourism skills are critically needed is; tour manager. A tour manager is a person who manages a group’s movements over a multi-day tour; also called a Tour Conductor, Tour Courier, Tour Escort, Tour Director, or Tour Leader. It is an ideal career choice for people who have passion in travelling and working at the same time.

The duties and roles of a tour manager are characterized by a finer balance of interests than a tour guide. Tour managers have to make best possible travel arrangements for a client’s destination, mode of transportation and enhance the image of tourism. From the moment of arrival at the first destination until the departure for home from the final destination, a tour manager accompanies the tour group and performs many key responsibilities especially during extended tours. Extended tours are generally considered to be those tours which last for several weeks or months-that is, for an extended period of time. The types of extended tours may include package tours visiting a selection of Malaysia’s attractions and icons, sightseeing tours, special-interest tours and camping tours.

Although a guide working extended programs is generally in the role of a tour manager, the responsibilities are far greater than a Tourist Guide. Tour manager is required to check all necessary paperwork and documents including passports and visas. Documentation is typically required by client once tour reservation has been confirmed and all payments have been made. Scheduling flights, reserving room accommodations, and making out itineraries are details that must be attended to and double checked to ensure a smooth trip for a client. Tour manager is also advisable to phone ahead to any accommodation or attraction establishments and confirm relevant details associated with the trip. This allows them to prepare, check and adjust for any unexpected changes. Optional tours search, and facilitate handling of luggage are also done by tour manager.

During an extended tour, there is a need for tour managers to liaise with local Guides as they are knowledgeable, well trained to work in specific areas. Sometimes, though knowledgeable tour guides usually supplement escorts at each destination, tour managers must nonetheless keep up on all sorts of facts, including such minutiae as postage and phone costs, tipping practices, the availability of necessary equipment, financial matters-local currency, travellers cheques, foreign exchange rates, credit cards and even the next day’s weather-the kinds of things that loom large during a tour. It is important for tour managers to be aware of any public holidays of the place to avoid unexpected circumstances. Some companies even expect them to do double duty as guides, in which case they have to study the history, geography, botany, and zoology of the visited area.

Typically one of the most dynamic economic sectors, Travel and Tourism has been contributed 7.2% to the national GDP after manufacturing sector. Therefore, the tour manager’s priority is service. For instance, knowing the clients is not just an option but a must. As to meet their interests and important moments such as birthday, anniversary, death, or new-born, a small token of appreciation or respect should be held. These are added values that engage the clients’ attention, impression and appreciation. Excellent tour managers are natural leaders who command respect; they are emotionally controlled, alert at all times, calm in the face of a challenge, and able to anticipate a problem before it arises or be doggedly persistent until it is solved. On top of that, tour managers may translate experience and common sense into firm, quick action. They think on their feet.

Courteous, patient, sensitive, caring, unselfish, diplomatic, tactful yet firm towards both clients and associates are example of attributes performed by professional tour managers when facing any lousy situations. Tour conducting is a consummate service job, one in which the tour manager carries on an extraordinarily subtle and extended relationship with each tour group served. Tour managers deal with clients’ individual needs on a daily basis such as food preferences, accommodation requirements and other daily needs. Of course, they have to like to do things for other people and work helpfully with them.

Tour conducting might need a hard work but there are a lot of great things about being a tour manager too. A high-profile and glamorous job, tour manager may enjoy travelling to many wonderful places. Having the opportunity staying in splendid hotels, and enjoying fine cuisine without having to cook and clean for absolutely free; these experiences are bonuses for a person who holds the title. Smartly dressed, the focus of attention for as many as fifty people, a master of a variety of skills, a tour manager becomes an instant celebrity to a tour group. Indeed, a good tour manager will definitely entertain and control people in ways that are fascinating, dramatic, and heady.

Often get scolded and depressed with workloads anyhow builds character and organisational skills of tour managers. Perhaps, in part, because the job made them that way. Moreover, the working environment itself offers prolonged lesson and valuable experience. They have the opportunity to meet wide variety of people all around the world, learning about their unique cultural and social backgrounds. Being presented with a learning experience each and every day made a tour leader as a knowledgeable person. These are valuable lessons that prepare individuals for a lifetime of success.

Tour managers are also paid well to see the world. The basic salary range in Malaysia for tour managers is between RM1, 700 up to RM3, 000 not including commissions and allowances provided by travel agencies. They earn much greater if one’s have strong qualifications related to the job. Although this commonly held perception is largely true, a few caveats are in order. A tour operator often limits tour managers to certain destinations. It is often true that tour managers sample a narrow range of international attractions, at least in the early stages of employment, since companies assign novice tour managers to less popular tours. Tour operators expect tour managers to be fully available during high seasons. They may treat tour managers as freelance independents, yet frown on their working for completing companies. They will certainly stop offering tours to a tour manager who turns down too many trips.

Nevertheless, there are also drawbacks to the profession. Tour operators hire tour managers whose responsibilities are varied and comprehensive. Many people assume tour conducting is a dream career but unrealistic expectations can quickly transform that dream into a nightmare. Escorting is a tough, demanding job. Its rewards, though considerable, are hard-earned. The opportunity of travelling and working sounds fun but realistically there is a possibility of degenerating into a boring routine after a point especially when he or she has to travel the same place all over again.

It is a reality that tour managers live out of a suitcase. Even though it is seen by others as always being on holidays, any resemblance of a normal life evaporates. It is a lonely job. No wonder that many tour managers are unmarried. Those who are married must adjust to long periods of absence from their families. Some of them have trouble holding on to a marriage. Furthermore, the timing and number of tours made available to a tour manager is thoroughly unpredictable, which makes it even more difficult to maintain a normal family life. Most tour managers travel frequently, particularly during high season.

Once on the road, tour managers face considerable stress. They are responsible for dozens of people, some of whom may be difficult or demanding, some of the tour participants might bring with them high expectations, some pose regression syndrome; desire to strictly conform, even among those tour members and etc. There is also a necessity for tour managers to work on long hours. If someone calls at 3 a.m. with a problem, the groggy manager must report immediately. In reality, a tour manager is on duty twenty-four hours a day. Since they are “celebrities” to their group, they have very little privacy which is not as glamorous as it looks.

In conclusion, although the profession of tour manager is one of the most popular, appealing, and competitive in the travel industry, managing extended tours are fiercely challenging. There is no easy way to achieve success at this job but the rewards are worth for both personal and financial perspective. On-the job experience is truly the ultimate teacher, but in-depth knowledge of exactly how a tour unfolds is also essential. To encounter the outflow of trained and educated tour manager in the tourism industry, there is a need to promote the scale, scope and characteristics of career opportunities created directly and indirectly by tourism, and to factor this into the mainstream employment, trade, investment and education policies.


1.  Andrews, S. (2007). Introduction To Hospitality And Tourism Industry. Madipur, ND: Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Limited.

2.  Goeldner, C. R., & Ritchie, J.R. B. (2003). Principles, Practices, Philosophies Tourism (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

3.  Mancini, M. (2001). Conducting Tours (3rd ed.). Albany, NY: Delmar.

4.  Mancini, M. (2005). Access: Introduction To Travel & Tourism (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

5.     Pastorelli, J. (2008), An Interpretive Approach To Tour Guiding: Enriching The Experience. Petaling Jaya, S: Pearson.

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