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
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
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
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.