How many tour directors are there out there on the road? Hard to say, some sources say more than 30,000, but in any case it's not a small number. We do know that the total contribution of the Travel and Tourism industry to our economy is about $1.5B per year. That's a lot of people doing something related to travel and tourism, and some of them are tour directors.
We know that there are over 600 tour operators in this country and lots more outside the country, and that those are the companies that hire tour directors to run their tours. Some tour operators hire hundreds of TDs, some just a few. Some hire full-time and will keep tour directors busy, often with barely a day off, through the entire tour season. Some hire part-time and for a limited number of tours per season. The year-after-year 8% plus expansion in the cruise industry is increasing the demand for tour professionals, and some of these cruises need hosts onboard, as well as shore excursion guides in port. Some land-based tour directors take cruisers away for a week-long land tour.
There is a burn-out factor in the tour director career field, as well, as some discover that extended time away from home, family, and friends, week after week, month after month, year after year, wears on them. There are always other tour directors ready to take their places.
So the number of tour directors on the road is a big enough number, and the turnover in the industry is substantial enough, that tour operators are constantly searching for new tour directors. And any career field always makes room for high-quality newcomers.
Our Members section will let you know of tour director / leader / guide opportunities, as well as other careers in the travel and tourism industry. We'll tell you how you can get started, what training would help you get initial credibility, what life is like on the road.