Do you love to travel? Do you like exotic destinations and new, undiscovered places? Enjoy working with people? Then take your passion and turn it into a career in travel and tourism. Travel and tourism professionals have a love of travel and are dedicated to helping others fulfill their dreams of traveling. And with over 400 job roles, from sales and marketing to travel booking and tour operating, you’re sure to find a positions that’s a perfect fit for your interests and talents.
The travel and tourism industry can be broken down into eight sectors, which include retail travel, wholesale travel, visitor information, tour operation, cruising, transportation, tourism services and events. Within each of these sectors you’ll find a myriad of roles and positions. One of the more popular and visible positions is that of travel agent. In fact, when most people think about a career in tourism they invision themselves as a travel agent setting up trips and excursions for individuals and groups. However, there are a large number of positions that are not so visible. Wholesalers, for example, work behind the scenes–invisibe to most consumers–designing and putting together travel packages that are then marketed through travel agents and agencies to consumers.
To help you better understand the opportunities that are available, below you’ll find a brief synopsis for each sector including the jobs and positions available.
- Retail Travel – this sector provides information to consumers and arranges transportation, lodging, accomodations, and tours for tourists. Jobs in this sectors include general manager, marketing manager, corporate travel consultant, retail travel agent, retail travel consultant, business development manager, ticketing consultant and receptionist.
- Wholesale Travel – this sector is the middleman between travel agents and suppliers. Wholesalers find and create travel products and negotiate rates for the travel agent. A few of the jobs in this sector include general manager, product manager, sales executive, reservation sales agent, inbound travel consultant, marketing manager, marketing coordinator and administrative assistant.
- Visitor Information – this sector is based on regional tourism. Professionals in this sector represent a specific regional, usually through a tourist centre, and maintain relationships with tourism suppliers for the region. Jobs within this sector include product manager, marketing manager, retail travel consultant, marketing coordinator, administrative assistant, and reservation sales agent.
- Tour Operator – as its name suggests, this sector leads tours to tourist attractions, destinations, landmarks, cities, and regions of interest. Jobs within this sector include tour operator, product manager, general manager, marketing manager, sales executive, inbound travel consultant and reservation sales agent.
- Cruising – as its names suggests, this sector focuses on cruising on various types and sizes of cruise ships positioned at locations throughout the world. Some cruise vessels are large and luxurious, others are small–able access remote areas. Jobs and positions within the cruising sector include general manager, product manager, sales executive, business development manager, reservation sales agent and various positions available on the cruise ships themselves.
- Transportation – the main players in this sector are planes, trains and automobiles, as well as boats, buses, and cruise ships. Jobs within this sector include general manager, product manager, marketing manager, conference organizer, administrative assistant, marketing coordinator, business development manager and a variety of positions relating to the transportation industry.
- Events – this sector is responsible for managing, preparing and organizing all sorts of events (e.g., conferences, workshops, presentation, etc.) for clients. Travel and tourism positions within this sector include conference organizer, marketing manager, marketing coordinator, product manager, reservation sales agent, corporate travel consultant and business development manager.
- Tourism Services – this is a comprehensive sector that covers all sectors that provide services within the travel industry (e.g., travel publications, recruitment suppliers, technology suppliers, transports, etc.) Jobs within this sector cover the gamut, but include marketing manager, sales executive, marketing coordinator, product manager and general manager.
Once you’ve decided on a career in travel and tourism there are several ways to get started in the industry. First, you’ll want to narrow your selection to a few jobs and positions that really appeal to you. Research these positions in depth and make sure you know what it takes to get where you want to be. Don’t expect from day one to become the CEO of a major travel company. Look at entry-level jobs, but keep your eye focused on the position that some day you want to achieve.
Education and Training
One way to get your foot in the door and maximize your chances of moving up the corporate ladder quickly is earning an advanced degree in travel, tourism, or a field that helps to support the industry. If you’re ultimate goal is to become the CEO of a travel agency, then earning degree in travel and tourism will be helpful, but earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to a tourism degree would be ideal. Whatever education track you puruse, make sure it strategically supports your end game.
Travel and Tourism Degrees and Certificates
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