How to Start a Career in Tourism
Tourism is simply the act of traveling out of your environment to visit other interesting places around the world usually for a period not longer than a year. The tourism industry otherwise known as the travel industry is a very wide one that encompasses several types of jobs. Statistics have it that this industry is responsible for about 10% of global jobs. But how you can start a successful career in this fun and also rewarding industry is what we will be talking about in this article.
We will also talk briefly about how you can start your own venture and make money off tourism with tourists as your target customers. But before we give you this guideline, let us talk a little about why this industry is important to countries and you as an individual.
Relevance of the Tourist Industry
The reason there is an explosion in the tourism industry is not far from the economic benefits that countries around the world derive from the visitation of foreigners. When people travel to other destinations outside theirs, they are bound to spend money in those destinations and this directly impacts positively on the economy of the host country.
A boost in the internal revenue of a country brings about infrastructural development and creates thousands of jobs within the country. Many tourists travel to explore cultural sites, wildlife parks, and other iconic locations of the host community. As a result, local restaurants, shopping centers, transport companies, and many other establishments benefit directly from it.
For example, Melbourne Australia is another popular tourist destination with a population of about 4 million people, and the tourist sector alone has created over 22,000 jobs for its citizens. And we all know that any country that benefits a lot from tourism will always invest a lot in infrastructural development. And infrastructural development is a criterion for measuring the living standard of the people in a country.
Most Popular Job Opportunities in The Travel Industry
There are several ways one can start a career in this wide industry that has nearly endless job opportunities, but before we go onto that, let’s highlight some of the most common jobs you can find in this industry.
- International travel retail consultant
- Tourist information center representative
- Tour guide
- Regional tourism manager
- Cruise ship attendant
- Visitor information officer
- Airport airline operation manager
These are a few out of the numerous jobs in this field. Even though each of the above-listed jobs has their unique tasks, one thing is common with their requirements, and that is the ability of a service provider to communicate and work well with people. For this reason, it is advisable that you obtain the right qualification in any tourism-related job or career you choose to pursue.
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Choosing a Career in Tourism – Steps to Take
Now that you have made up your mind to start a career in tourism, it is important for you to consider these steps to avoid signing up for the wrong career path.
1. Read About Jobs Related to Tourism
Just like we pointed out earlier in the article, this field encompasses so many different career opportunities with each requiring different levels of experience and qualification. We mentioned some of these career paths earlier so that it can be easier for you to make up your mind on a particular job field.
But before going on to make your choice regarding these career paths, you will need to read extensively on each job type. While researching the different job types in this field, make a note of the things you consider favorable (Pros) to you and those you dislike (Cons) about each of the jobs you are researching. Also take note of the skills, qualifications, and experiences required for each job.
2. Evaluate Your Qualification and Skills
After researching each of these jobs, try to match their requirements with your own skills, qualification, and experience. Through that, you will be able to know which job requirement matches your qualification. Having strong communication skills and good customer service experience is an added advantage in any of the career paths under tourism.
Other skills that are also important in this field include organizational skills like planning and coordination, prioritizing, and time management. You may not perfectly have all the needed skills for the job with the closest requirement to your qualification, but don’t worry no one does from unset. All you need to do is to make improvements in those areas you are not good at by exploring every source that can feed you with the right information. Refine even those skills you are currently better at before moving onto the next step.
3. Consider the Trend of the Industry at the Moment
Considering the trend of the industry will help you in evaluating the current job market and how that job will fare in the near future. For example, some years ago, photographers made a lot of money by following tourists around. Some tourist usually hires photographers for all the number of days they will spend at the museum, parks, and other interesting tourist locations and those photographers were into business.
But with the coming of smartphones with good cameras, most people now prefer to take pictures with their phones while others go along with their personal cameras and as a result, the photography job is no longer as lucrative as it used to be. So this is why you need to consider the trends of jobs in the industry so that you shouldn’t be out of business a few years into your career.
4. Consider Your Passion
It is true that when it comes to choosing a career path, one factor that influences most people’s choices is the amount of money they can make from that job. Even though considering how well a job can pay you is important, that should not be your primary focus. What you should consider more is the area of your passion.
Doing jobs, you are not happy about just because the pay is good, is a disaster both to the organization you are working for, and your career. This is because you will hardly bring about any significant improvements to the organization. And as well, it will be difficult for you to improve your career.
Working for long hours is one thing you can’t avoid in the tourism industry, so if your job does not reflect your passion it will be twice as hectic for you. If for instance, you enjoy interacting with people, consider opting for a job in a hotel or a tourist attraction site.
Starting Businesses in the Field
You may also consider starting your own personal business and make tourist your target customers. If that is what you want, then you should first of all study the various categories of tourists as mentioned above and find out the type of tourists your location attracts.
You may be living in a place with so many iconic religious sites so you should know the type of people that will be visiting, and what they are most likely to patronize. The same thing goes for experiential tourism, medical tourism, and so on.
However, some destinations are not limited to attracting only one set of tourists. In such types of destinations, starting a business that will serve all categories of tourists is well advised. For instance, building hotels or providing transportation services to the tourist is a business that cut across all categories of tourist. So you stand a chance of making more money from this type of business.
Whatever services you are providing to these tourists, ensure that you give them the best because every tourist is out for a wonderful experience. So providing quality services to your tourists will make them come back next time, and will also recommend your business to their friends who may be intending to visit that same location. That is the way to maintain your customers and attract more new ones.
Tourists are also moved by the hospitality they receive while using your services. So ensure that you treat them kindly and make them feel welcome and comfortable. The little kind gestures you give to your customers goes a long way in bringing them back and that is necessary for your business to keep striving.
Finally, whether you want to get a job with an established tourism industry or you simply want to start your own establishment, the knowledge you have now after reading through this article will get you started. And whichever division you choose to fall into, I can assure you that it is well rewarding. But what is even more fascinating about it is that while you are making a lot of money from the industry, it also offers you the luxury of building a career in one of the most amazing environments around the world.