Vancouver’s Tourism Industry: The Perfect Source For Student Summer Jobs


Can you imagine leading a tour through the Museum of Vancouver, working at the Vancouver Aquarium or managing the information desk at the Vancouver Art Gallery?

Vancouver’s tandem roles as a popular travel destination and industry hub make it a tourist hotspot.

Tourism is Vancouver’s second-largest industry, accounting for one out of every 10 jobs in the city, which saw over eight million tourists last year!

As the summer draws closer, you may feel a little anxious about your summer job prospects, particularly if you’re waiting on an internship or entry level job in your field.

If you live in Vancouver, though, there are a number of great reasons to consider looking for a job in the tourism industry.

Variety, variety, variety

Just as a retail job doesn’t have to mean folding shirts, Vancouver’s tourism industry offers a immense variety of positions that come with different responsibilities.

Though “tourism” may make you think of  amusement parks, gift shops and overpriced restaurants, many other attractions are part of the tourist trade, including the following:

  • Concert halls: BC Place, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, GM Place, The Commodore Ballroom
  • Art galleries: Monte Clark Gallery, Atelier Gallery, Buschlen Mowatt Gallery
  • Museums: Museum of Anthropology (UBC), Royal British Columbia Museum, The Vancouver Maritime Museum

Many other Vancouver businesses may have public relations branches which organize tourist-oriented events. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to find a job that corresponds to an interest or skill you’ve developed outside of work.

Good experience

While entry level work in Vancouver’s tourism industry rarely comes with a big salary and company car (maybe a golf cart, though?), most positions will provide useful experience.

Part-time work in the tourist industry has high turnover from season to season, so your experience will usually give you an “in” with your employer next season if you want to return (often at a higher wage).

Almost all positions in the tourist industry emphasize quality customer service—future employers will appreciate this demonstrated experience working directly with the public.

Tourism is also a fantastic way to acquire new skills. Depending on your job, you might gain experience in cash handling, deposit preparation, writing and editing, public speaking or management, just to name a few.

Sun and fun

When a job is entertaining, it doesn’t feel like work. While every position is different, there are a few features common to most Vancouver tourism jobs that should help take the sting out of having less free time.

If you dread long days spent watching the clock, you’ll probably enjoy tourism’s high-traffic atmosphere, which keeps you busy all but the slowest (and rainiest) days.

Vancouver’s tourism organizations often employ a number of young people in similar divisions. It’s always nice to make a few workplace friends and work in a team of other people in your age bracket.

Your job may also come with perks outside of work hours: tickets for on-site programming, discounted food and beverages, free promotional merchandise or clothing.

Some tourist destinations have reciprocal agreements with other attractions in Vancouver or province, which will let you visit new places without spending all of your hard-earned cash.

It’s not too late to get in contact with tourist destinations in Vancouver to see if anyone is looking to fill a summer job or even a volunteer position. You might be able to get work experience and snag some of that summer sun all at once (sunblock mandatory).

About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.