What they do
Tourist information officers provide advice to tourists about the attractions and accommodation available in their local area. They work in visitor information centres in popular tourist destinations throughout Western Australia, where they help tourists from all over Australia and the world. They help with matters such as booking accommodation, arranging tours and recommending restaurants and popular entertainment activities. Most visitor centres also distribute brochures and sell souvenirs, so tourist information officers will also have to maintain stock levels and prepare displays. Some tourist information officers may also be involved in running local, national or international campaigns to promote tourism in their area.
Tourist information officers work in popular tourist destinations all over Western Australia, with the majority in the Perth metropolitan region and the South West corner of the state. However, there are also a high proportion in the Mid West/Gascoyne and Kimberley regions. They usually work in dedicated visitor information centres, which are run by local governments or shire councils. These centres are typically open standard business hours during the week, and may also be open on weekends. Tourism is a seasonal industry, so tourist information officers tend to be busier during the warmer months, though this can vary depending on which part of the state they work in.
Tools and technologies
Tourist information officers use brochures, posters and guidebooks, as well as their own personal experiences, to make recommendations and answer tourists' questions. In larger visitor centres, particularly in the Perth region, they may use online booking services to arrange travel, tours and accommodation for visitors. In smaller regional centres bookings may still be made over the telephone, though staff will still need to be familiar with using computers. Tourist information officers also use cash registers, EFTPOS and credit card machines, barcode readers, pricing label guns and step ladders for stacking or arranging displays.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a tourist information officer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. Entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in tourism or a related area. You will generally need to be very familiar with the local area and its attractions. The ability to speak a second language may improve your employment prospects.
The Certificates II and III in Tourism are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also undertake a traineeship in tourism (visitor information services) (level 3). The traineeship takes 12 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing