Travel and tourism

Getting in

Do you like meeting people? Like the possibility of travel? Can you work under pressure and use your initiative? If so, then a career in Travel and Tourism could be for you!

In the South West employers in the travel and tourism sector are looking for young people with a positive attitude and who are willing to learn.

But more and more employers are also looking for people who can bring skills into the job, and employers in the South West have listed the following in terms of what they are looking for in employees:

  • Flexibility
  • Personal presentation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Management skills
  • Customer service skills
  • IT skills
  • Basic accounting skills
  • Other technical abilities

You’ll need to look smart (a lot of jobs require a uniform), have a friendly personality, a positive attitude and good communication skills (especially when dealing with awkward customers).  Employers are also recognising how important it is to train their staff to improve their professionalism and meet the needs of their customers.

There are a variety of jobs on offer – after all this sector is already one of the UK’s biggest money earners and is still growing.

Routes into this sector

There are various types of qualifications available: 

It is still very much a sector where you can work your way up, where you can get a job with very few qualifications and with a lot of hard work and additional training, get to the top!  However, the more qualifications you can get before you start, the better your chance of getting the job you want and being able to start higher up in the company. To work in this sector learning another language can be a very useful skill, especially if you have a customer facing role.

In the Travel and Tourism sector there are a variety of jobs such as travel agents, holiday representatives, tour managers as well as roles at tourist attractions such as, heritage sites, museums and other family attractions. This sector also includes people who work at theme parks as well as air traffic controllers.

Your career pathway depends upon the type of career you want. You may want to be customer facing or prefer to work behind the scenes.  An example of a customer facing role is working as a travel agent where you will have the opportunity to start with few qualifications and receive on the job training or complete an apprenticeship.  This industry is very knowledge based and you will be expected to know about other countries and cultures when dealing with the public.  If you want a role which is more behind the scenes like air traffic control, you would have to complete specific professional qualifications having achieved a good level of education to 18, including GCSE in English and Maths and Level 3 qualifications (A Levels or vocational).

To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Sector Skills Council’s website, People 1st.

Spotlight on being an Events Manager

Event managers can be involved in anything from organising festivals and concerts to trade fairs and conferences in a variety of venues from hotels, concert halls, country parks to ships and private yachts.  The events manager would plan the whole event in the months leading up to it.  They would organise anything and everything from transport, accommodation, catering, menu’s and entertainment to hiring staff and managing specific activities on the day, anywhere in the world. You could work for a single venue such as a hotel or for a company specialising in events working for a vast range of clients.  An increase in tourism in the area has led to many people travelling to events such as Glastonbury for the festival or Bristol for the Balloon Fiesta, which boosts the local economy.

If you are well organised, dedicated and have an eye for detail it can provide an exciting career pathway.  You also have to be confident and work well with people liaising regularly with your clients to provide everything they want and within the budget they have.  Finally you need to be resilient and not afraid of long hours or working evenings and weekends but the rewards could mean you have the opportunity to work all over the world and meet lots of very interesting people. 

 Visit the National Careers Service for more information on becoming an Events Manager

Working in Event Management

What's involved in Event Management?

Conference and Event Sales Manager

View/download a fact sheet about Travel and Hospitality

View/download a fact sheet about the Transport and Logistics

Websites for vacancies

Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?

Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed an Italian course for beginners.  Click on the following link for more information

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