Whether you are looking to enter the world of work straight after leaving school, or after attending university, the tourism industry offers a wealth of career options for those with a passion for travel and culture. You will gain knowledge about specific products and operations, and communicate with tour operators, airlines, hotels and tourist boards. And you may even get the opportunity to jet off to dream destinations, in order to become a specialist on a certain country.
So what are the qualities you need to kick-start your career in travel? Peter Jenkins, owner and managing director of Sun-hat Villas & Resorts has decades of experience working in the sector and has become a prominent expert on the Algarve. The following pointers are what Peter believes to be the key qualities for success to work in the travel and tourism industry.
Willingness to learn
As with all jobs, having the enthusiasm to learn is an obvious, but important part of any career. No matter what your age, there is still plenty of scope for new knowledge. So take advantage of the skillset and experience of your team members, and do not be afraid to pick their brains or ask questions so you can be on the road to becoming a fellow industry expert.
Likewise, being conscientious and tenacious is key. The more hard work you put into a job, the more you will reap in return in terms of recognition, potential reward and job satisfaction. Stay focused and motivated to achieve your future goals, and not only will you become a self-reliant asset to employers, you could also be a productive source of knowledge and inspiration for your peers.
Having the ability to read and understand people’s feelings will mean you will be able to efficiently communicate with locals, suppliers, colleagues, and operators. Where customers are concerned, in particular, they will put a great deal of emotion into booking and preparing for a holiday, so you will want to make the whole process as smooth and easy as possible for them by being kind and sympathetic.
You do not need to be a master in economics, but to have a general interest in the growth of the travel and tourism industry, and its cultural and economic impact on the world is a good idea. A country’s infrastructure and investment will give you knowledge into its visitor numbers and tourism spend, any issues surrounding immigration and border control, and even potential job opportunities for example.
Working in the travel industry means you will encounter many different cultures, so by exploring foreign traditions, rituals, and local mannerisms, you will be able to understand people’s lifestyles in different countries and regions. Being interested in the history and values of those people, including their art, religion, and architecture, will give you a good grounding for engaging with whoever you meet along the way, both professionally and personally.
It goes without saying that good people skills are essential in any line of customer-facing work. On the job, you will continue to learn about the relationships between consumers, tourism service providers and passenger transport employees, and the issues (and knock-on effects) that are faced on a daily basis. So being highly communicative in a patient and astute manner will mean you can directly face any challenges head-on.
Developing your own skill set will make you progress up the ladder, but by having a personal interest and opinion on the development of the travel industry as a whole, will be attractive to future employers. After all, issues relating to sustainability and social responsibility affects all of us in the industry, from travel agents and tourist guides to passenger check-in officers and flight attendants.
If you are excited by the world around you, it is more than likely you will be well informed about general news across the globe. Anyone can be trained in customer service and sales, or how to use software and machinery etc, but having enthusiasm for humanitarianism, culture, climate change and economics, for example, has more meaning in becoming a well-rounded travel professional.
Learning different languages
There is no need to learn the lingo in every language, but by simply brushing up on a few basic, polite phrases, will arm you with confidence when communicating in different countries. This will be appreciated by all those you meet, even if it’s just a simple “thank you”. Obviously, the more you learn, the more you will get out of the conversation or relationship, and being fluent or semi-fluent in languages other than English will be looked highly upon by employers.
In this industry, the opportunities to travel the world and discover remote, unchartered areas are endless. Naturally, most of the people who are drawn to this sector share an excitement for travel, both personally and professionally, which means they are passionate about their work, and truly believe in the products and services they offer.
You can study travel and tourism at Leicester College click this link: https://leicestercollege.ac.uk/courses/subjects/travel-and-tourism/