Travel & Tourism Professional Career Information
What a Travel & Tourism Professional does
In a travel agency, you could work as a Travel Counsellor. Here, you'll provide information and guidance on tourist locations and also handle ticketing and reservation. You'll guide tourists on regulations in foreign countries like custom duty, foreign currency, exchange rates, etc.
You'll book tickets for a regular clientele and also co-ordinate with big companies like SOTC or tour operators that need rail, bus and air tickets booked for their clients. You could be working with travel companies like TCI, Cox & Kings or UVI Holidays Ltd. Planning the entire tour right from ticketing to booking the hotels, selecting places for sight seeing, hiring private vehicles, etc can be a daunting task.
You'll begin as a tour executive in the ticketing department. Your job will involve taking down the routes that your client wants to travel through and arranging for them. If a client needs to fly between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Madras, it is your job to tell him or her the best way to get there. This means giving them different options like the choice between flights, best discounts, etc.
The next step includes calling up the airline and confirming the ticket. To avoid goof-ups, every letter is represented by a word like, A for alpha. So, if you want to tell Indian Airlines (formerly known as Air India) you need to book on a flight from Mumbai to Delhi, you book the ticket saying D for Delta, E for Egypt and so on.
You can also work as a guide. Accompanying tourists, looking after their comforts and guiding them through the locations, explaining its history and culture can hardly be described as a job.
In the airline business you will function as the ground staff, assisting passengers in ticketing, answering passengers queries, issuing flight/boarding pass, checking luggage, etc. You could also work in the marketing department, promoting various tour packages to tourists as well as corporate clients.
Every state has its own tourism department, and so does the central government. You could start off as an Information Assistant in these tourism departments and gradually move up the ladder.
In the field of tours and travels you will find work with: • Travel agencies
• Tour operators
• Airlines, both national and international
• Transport and cargo companies
• Government tourism departments, including the ITDC (Indian Tourism Development Corporation) and State Departments of Tourism
• Travel consultancy organizations’
You could start off as an assistant and work your way up to an executive role and even end up being the general manager. You could even write you own book on travel and tourism or become a lecturer at a tourism institute. If that's not good enough you can even start your own firms after gaining some experience.
Career Prospects Tourism is a major source of foreign exchange. In recent years, India has been aggressively marketing itself as a tourist destination. There has also been a spurt of Indians travelling overseas. This simply translates into more business and thus more opportunities. With better healthcare facilities and low-cost medical treatment, India is being touted as the next big destination for medical tourism. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) says that at its current pace, healthcare tourism alone can rake over 1.7 billion dollars additional revenue by 2012.
Abilities & Traits Required
• Excellent communication skills in English and any other regional language
• Knowledge of a foreign language would be an advantage
• Pleasant personality
To do well in this field you got to spruce up your public relations. Often you'll have to deal with angry clients ready to nail you for no hot water in their bathroom. And of course you should have the ability to smile tirelessly. Then there are bounced cheques, cancelled bookings, etc to take care of. You sure need a cool head for all this.
Graduation in any stream is fine for an entry level position.
For a higher-level job as an executive in the tour and travel industry, you need to have a PG Diploma in Tourism/MTA (Master of Tourism Administration)/MBA, to extract an advantage over general graduates. MBA are generally recruited for marketing. If you have a diploma or degree in Hotel Management, you can get a good job in the executive cadre.
There are many institutes that offer diplomas in travel & tourism. In Mumbai you can do it from Tradewings, Radio Bhuvan IHCTM, Mumbai University, K.C. College or SNDT.
If ticketing is what you are looking at, an IATA diploma from Geneva is the most reliable. Stay clear of fake classes that claim to offer IATA certified courses. It is common to see the IATA sign on tickets or agencies. Any agency needs at least two IATA diploma holders as employees in order to get the certification.
To get a job in the government departments, airlines and travel agencies the minimum eligibility is graduation in any discipline. To qualify as a travel guide, you should be a graduate or postgraduate in History/Archaeology along with a certificate course in guiding. Recruitment into government tourism departments is done through the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) or SPSC (State Public Service Commission)
In a government department you'll start at a gross salary of about Rs 15000 per month.
In a corporate sector travel agency, your starting pay will be about Rs 20000-30000 a month if you have certificate or diploma in tourism.
If you have an MTA your starting salary could be Rs 15000-25000 or more per month. MBA get a higher start at about Rs 30000-50000 or more per month.
The money notwithstanding, the perks in the field are more attractive. You can get free tickets for a certain period of time or annually for yourself and your family. Plus you get to travel free with your clients if you are the tour leader going out with a group.