Careers in Travel and Tourism
Travel and Tourism one of the world’s largest foreign exchange earner among industries, provides employment directly to millions of people worldwide and indirectly through many associated service industries. A very wide industry, it includes Government tourism departments, Immigration and customs services, travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, hotels etc and many associated service industries such as airline catering or laundry services, Guides, Interpreters, Tourism promotion and sales etc. Travel and Tourism enterprises include major internationals with a workforce of thousands, to the small private travel agent with a handful of employees.
Work in the travel and tourism industry is essentially concerned with providing services for people who are away from home, on business or holiday. Travel can be leisure travel involving package tours, pilgrim travel, adventure travel etc or purely business. Work at every functional level in the industry involves dealing directly with people. Travel agents assess the needs of tourists and businessmen and help them make the best possible travel arrangements from the many travel options available. Also, many major cruise lines, resorts, and specialty travel groups use travel agents to promote travel packages to the millions of people who travel every year.
Travel company personnel must be up-to-date on current rules and regulations and documentation required, in areas like cargo, ticketing and passports, visas etc. so as to correctly advise their clients, and to take care of the paperwork when necessary. Besides this, all tourism staff in marketing, counter sales, or guide services, should be knowledgeable about the places their clients visit, in terms of general background, how to get there connections by air, rail and road and the facilities available.
In India, Travel and tourism, as an industry, has been somewhat slower to take off than in many other places. However, with increasing worldwide interest in travel, and with the Government’s encouragement of its activities, it is undergoing massive expansion and improvement. This forecasts a bright future for all those who choose to make a career of travel and tourism. Young people with drive and a capacity for hard work can rise to top positions very quickly in travel and tourism or even head their own agencies. A job in the industry gives good returns as well as perks including opportunity to see many locales at low prices..
Educational There are graduate level, Postgraduate level, diploma and certification courses available to pursue in the industry. The post-graduate degree awarded is Master of Tourism Administration (MTA), which is a two year full time programme approved by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. The Indian Institution of Tourism and Travel Management and some universities offer MTA degree in Tourism. A Post graduate degree can be helpful in getting into managerial and administrative positions in the industry. International Air transport Association (IATA), a World Organisation which provides recognised standard in training to travel, tourism and cargo industry, offers certification courses. Several large travel agencies also offer short-term training programmes, and tend to absorb most of the candidates.
The eligibility for admission to Travel and Tourism courses at the undergraduate level is, higher secondary examination pass. At post-graduate level, eligibility is graduation in any field along with a pass in the entrance test followed by group dicussions and interview conducted by the institute. Proficiency in at least one foreign language is preferred. A diploma in public relations or advertising is helpful from the career point of view. It is also possible to gain these qualifications through correspondence courses. Eligibility for certification courses is 10+2.
Officers in the Directorate and Departments of Tourism are recruited from among the candidates who have done civil service, drawn from the Civil/administrative services of the State and Central governments. A degree in travel and tourism is required for operational jobs in government organisations. Information assistants at the office of the Tourism departments are selected through competitive examinations held by the Staff Selection Commission. The eligibility is graduation with knowledge of Indian history, art and architecture, besides proficiency in English. These vacancies are advertised through he employment news.
Duration : The duration of training varies between one and two years, depending on the course. For certification courses the duration maybe below one year.
Good communication and presentation skills is essential in the industry where service to the customer is of utmost importance. An outgoing, friendly personality; ability to handle people, verbal fluency, aptitude for languages will be advantageous to be successful in the field. One should also have an up-to-date knowledge of available facilities and services in the field. In the administrative or managerial level, organising ability, an ability to make decisions, solve problems, work effectively within a team will be essential.
Job Prospects and Career Options
Being a very wide field, the scope of employment in tourism sector is very bright and the potential is still largely untapped. Career opportunities exist both in the public and private sector. In the public sector, there are opportunities in the Directorates and Departments of Tourism of the center and the state as Officers, information assistants, Tourist guides etc. Another good prospectus for qualified tourism professionals are in the private sector with travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, hotels, transport and cargo companies etc. The opening up of the skies to private airlines and their emerging tie-ups with foreign airlines has removed bottlenecks in the transport and communication network resulting in easy flow of domestic and foreign tourists in the country. Since this is a new area of employment, not many qualified and experienced people are available and the promotion prospectus are also very bright and rapid. After a few years of experience, One can also start their own business by handling all travel requirements of a client and gradually building up business, taking on additional employees.
Tourism Department :
In the Tourism Department there are jobs as Reservation & counter staff, Sales and marketing staff, Tour Planners and Tour guides. Officers in the Directorate and Departments of Tourism are recruited from among the candidates who have done civil service, drawn from the Civil/administrative services of the State and Central governments. They are involved in the planning and promotion of tourism activities. A degree in travel and tourism is required for operational jobs in government organisations. Information assistants at the office of the Tourism departments are selected through competitive examinations held by the Staff Selection Commission. The eligibility is graduation with knowledge of Indian history, art and architecture, besides proficiency in English. These vacancies are advertised through the employment news. Information Assistants give out information regarding tourist spots and services available and help to plan the itinerary of the tourists. The Ministry of Tourism recognises three types of guides, regional, state and local. A regional guide gets a two year renewable license from the Ministry of Tourism endorsed for life by the Archeological Survey of India. Guides give detailed information on the various monuments and artifacts and about the countries traditions and heritage.
Working in an airline, whether on the ground staff or in flight is an exciting option for many people these days. In the airlines, one can work as Traffic Assistance, Reservation and Counter Staff, Airhostess and flight pursers, Sales and Marketing staff and customer services. A course in travel and tourism or a qualification on Hotel management helps to get in. The jobs in airlines though challenging are glamorous and afford the possibility of traveling to exciting destinations. Free tickets for the family offered by some airlines are an added advantage. Domestic and international Airlines such as Air India, Indian airlines, Jet airways, Air Sahara, Aeroflot, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Singapore Airlines etc offer employment opportunities with attractive salaries and numerous benefits.
Tour operators organise conducted tours to the various tourist spots and manage the travel and stay of the tourists. There are many companies operating tours for the domestic as well as the international tourist. Some may be for the usual destinations like hill stations but others are for unusual activities like river rafting, hang gliding, rock climbing and camping. Tour operators need people for selling the concept and then to accompany the groups to the destinations. For foreign groups, the agencies prefer girls, who are friendly and helpful. For domestic groups, males are preferred. Again, the qualities required are a pleasing and outgoing personality, knowledge of the activities and often participating in them with the tourists. A person hoping to work with a tour operator must be able to travel with the groups and know people at the destinations to make the tours pleasant for the client. Though one may do a course of tourist guide for this purpose, people with a knowledge of the activities can easily join as tour operators. The jobs could be seasonal in some cases.
Travel agents assess the needs of tourists and businessmen and help them make the best possible travel arrangements from the many travel options available. Many resorts, travel groups use travel agents to promote their tour packages to travelers. They deal with almost everything connected with travel including the shortest route to the destination, travel mode, the important documents that will be required (visa, passport, vaccination certificates etc.), suitable places to stay, current exchange rates, tourist attractions to visit, climate and they will plan the trip keeping in mind the clients’ preferences, budgets and special needs. In travel agencies there are openings for reservation and counter staff, Sales and Marketing staff, Tour escorts and tour operators, cargo and courier agencies etc. A short tem course or a diploma in travel and ticketing of 3-6 months duration will help gain entry into an agency. Several large travel agencies also offer short-term training programmes, and tend to absorb most of the candidates. Some agencies take in fresh graduates and train them on the job. Most travel agencies demands persons have a pleasing personality and the ability to deal with customers. A knowledge of destinations and procedures help a great deal.
The hotel Industry is basically a service industry providing food and accommodation to the Visitors. It is one which requires a large amount of manpower, with a wide variety of skills. In India alone, about 1, 80,000 vacancies are expected to be filled within the next decade. An hotel offers career opportunities in its various departments such as Operations, Front office, House keeping, Food and Beverages, Accounting, Engineering/ Maintenance, Sales, Public relations and Security etc. One can enter this field through direct entry in some departments or through hotel management institutes. There are many institutes that offer hotel management courses. Many hotels also offer overseas training opportunities, which allow young people to gain promotions rapidly.
Besides airlines, Travel facilities include rail services, coach operators, car hire companies. etc. Whatever that takes Tourists from one place to another – by air, road, railway, sea etc. comes under Travel and tourism. Tourist use almost all these travel facilities.
Jobs in the travel and tourism industry offer good remuneration and perquisites, which include free travel for employees and their families. Salaries may vary within the industry and are higher in foreign airlines and agencies.
Basic Pay scales at different levels are approximately:
* Counter Clerk Rs. 1,500-2,000
* Assistant Rs. 2,000-2,500
* Junior Executive Rs. 3,000-3,500
* Regional Manager Rs. 3,800 -4,500
* General Manager Rs. 5,000-6,000
* Air Hostess- Rs 6,000 basic salary for domestic to Rs 40,000 in international airlines
Regional guides: Their charges may range from Rs400 and above for an eight hour day. They may earn between 30,000-40,000 Rs or more in the three to four months of the tourist peak season.