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Travel and Tourism

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Globe trotting is always a pleasure but planning one’s journey isn’t. In steps your friendly neighborhood travel agent. Tourism – both leisure and business travel – is a booming industry and being labor-intensive offers hajaar job opportunities. If you loved Geography in school and enjoy interacting with people this could be a career avenue for you.

Travel and tour operators bring together the key holiday elements – transport/ hotel accommodation/ sightseeing – purchasing them in bulk and reselling them for a variety of travelers. Many even offer tailor-made packages. So you see, it’s not only about becoming a Steward/Stewardess…

The International Air Transport Association [IATA] is a world organization of scheduled carriers with its head office at Geneva for the Asia, Europe and Pacific regions. IATA provides the travel, tourism and cargo industry a recognized standard in training. The courses can be taken up through self-study methods or through the IATA/ UFTAA/ and IATA/ FIATA Authorized Training Centers.

The course includes:
– Basic knowledge about the tourism industry including an overview of the recent trends in the international tourist movement, transport and accommodation
– Impact of weather and climate on tourist destination; Indian history, art, cultural and architecture.
– Modules on finance economics and personal management.
– Industry terms and codes, world geography, visa, customs and health requirements.
– Customer service and sales techniques.
– Tourism management and tourism planning.
You need a good memory to do well because you are tested on “codes” of different cities, countries and airline codes e.g.. in IATA the code for Los Angeles is not LA but LAX, Chennai is not CHE but MAA, Dubai is not DUB but DXB.
P.S. Practical knowledge is what that ultimately counts.

Students prefer to join some institute which teaches them the IATA subject matter rather then doing so on a self study basis, though the books are available by directly applying to the Geneva based organization. It’s like a student usually prefers to attend regular college than doing graduation through correspondence. These classes offering diplomas and certificates ensure that you know your Maps right!

A 1 year diploma after graduation. After that you join a travel agency or airline as sales or reservation staff (Hello! may I help you-types). A diploma course for 14/18 months after 10 + 2 eg at Garware Institute.
Remember it is very important to pass out from a well recognized place. Some institutes also have a 3 months grooming course which teaches you all about composing and conducting yourself (it’s important for airline jobs).

Added knowledge of a foreign language also helps. Another option, if you have the time, is to do a short term course in hotel management and catering alongside (offered by many T & T institutes). You have an added advantage, for example, if you have knowledge of different cuisines and wines

You need to be able to understand people’s psychology. A shy, introverted type of personality will not do. Clients don’t like grumpy faces – you need the ability to smile tirelessly. Entry barriers are low – the diploma as such does not guarantee a job.

Also, many get jobs without diplomas. Companies like Thomas Cook also recruit smart fresh graduates. Good looks are always an asset : If you’re not beautiful you can at least strive to be presentable. Fresher usually start at small, local travel agencies. If you are keen on joining a large company/ airline 70% in your IATA exam is a must. If you work as ground staff or flight crew for an airline you will keep very erratic timings

The ratio of students doing the IATA course and the ones finally getting employed in the travel industry is 100:10.Though institutes don’t guarantee placements they do have contacts and it’s easier to find out about vacancies. Check out the queues of young aspirants thronging Xavier’s College (Mumbai) every time Jet Airways has interviews!

If you are unlucky in getting into the main stream there are other options : Foreign language proficiency can be utilized to build up a career as a translator/ interpreter Publishing travel brochures, making travel documentaries, marketing of tourist packages etc are also careers linked to this industry. You could even write a book on travel and tourism or become a lecturer at a tourism institute

The average cost of training for an IATA certification is Rs 15,000 – 30,000. There are some courses that fleece you a lakh or even more. Beware of fake classes that “guarantee” you the diploma at exorbitant rates. Applying for IATA exam on your own it will cost around Rs 10,000.

The RBCS (Radio Bhavan), IHCTM, offers a 4 month course (IATA) for Rs.23,000. The International Airfare Desk (IAFD) run by Ms Gouri Dixit, Mumbai charges Rs.15,000 to 30,000 depending upon the course (eg. basic, advanced, British Airways course-includes coaching, kit and exam fees). This is the most happening institute right now as Ms Dixit has a lot of experience and contacts – getting a job is made easier. K.C. College, Mumbai also has a 2 yr course with 6 months internship, Tradewings – 8,000 to 20,000 for a diploma ( 6 – 14 mths), Mumbai University offers a 2 year course priced at Rs 20,000 and IITC (Mumbai) offer courses between Rs 20,000 to 30,000.

Rs 5000-9000 is what you can expect in the starting years (depends from co to co) and go up to five digits. If you manage to start your own travel agency you will be rolling in hard cash. P.S. Contrary to popular belief working in a travel agency does not get you free tickets to exotic destinations. Airline employees get this facility once a year (after some amount of experience)

– Tradewings (66627193/94)
– The RBCS (Radio Bhavan) – 2070059
– K.C. College, Mumbai.
– Mumbai University
– Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, M’bai (6528229)
– Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai has a Travel and Tourism course
– Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management,
– New Delhi School of Vocational Studies,
– New Delhi IAFD – Gouri Dixit, Mumbai – 2850205 / 2850284

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