Careers in Travel Trade

NB: Listed below are an array of jobs available in the selected sector. We continue to add details to each job listed, including duties, required experience, suggested education, possible career paths and average annual salary.

Travel Counsellor

OVERVIEW
Travel counsellors advise clients on travel options and tour packages, make bookings and reservations, prepare tickets and receive payment. They are enthusiastic about travel, and have good research and organizational skills. In addition to salaries, travel counsellors also may be offered commissions and travel benefits. They are employed in retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies and in corporate offices that have enough business travel to warrant their own booking divisions.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Strong written and verbal communication skills, customer service skills and interpersonal skills are required for this position. An aptitude for selling and an ability to work under pressure are also necessary. Desired skills and experience include sales, marketing and computer experience, monetary transaction skills, and proven research, organizational and time management skills. Travel experience and a second language are also useful.

DUTIES
Provide travel information and itineraries to clients, counsel clients on terms and conditions of travel, e.g. cancellation policies, sell tickets/tours and make reservations, process payments and keep accounts, promote destinations, tour packages and other services, provide travel tips on currency, language, safety, health, etc. may also sell special event tickets or travel insurance.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is required. A related college diploma is usually requested. Certification as a Travel Counsellor may also be required.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Senior Travel Counsellors, Travel Agency Manager, Agency Owner/Operator.

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Travel Agency Manager

OVERVIEW
Travel agency managers plan, organize, direct and control the operations of travel-related organizations. They also co-ordinate and direct the activities of staff, overseeing not only the day-to-day tasks, but the hiring, training and evaluating of staff members as well. Agency managers may also research new products and destinations, often by travelling to them and experiencing first hand the services available.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary, as are proven sales and marketing abilities. Organizational, customer service, human resource management, and planning and financial management skills are all required. In addition, marketing and selling skills, research skills, travel and/or management experience and strong leadership and team-building skills are also important. Time and risk management skills, as well as a second language, are assets in this position.

DUTIES
Use operations management skills, such as establishing work plans and objectives, use financial management skills such as overseeing budget, manage human resources such as hiring and training staff, use sales and marketing skills such as determining potential markets, co-ordinate merchandising functions through retail buyers, research new products.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is required, as is several years of related retail sales experience with increasing levels of responsibility. A diploma or degree in tourism, business or management may be necessary. Certification as a Travel Manager may also be required.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Tour Operator, General Manager, Regional Manager, Agency Owner/Operator.

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Small Business Owner/Operator

OVERVIEW
Tourism small business owner/operators are accountable for planning, decision-making and management of all aspects of the tourism business. An owner/ operator must continuously review and update business plans, check budget figures, monitor accounting and cash control procedures and ensure the overall operation of the establishment is in line with predictions. Although this position is related to the travel trade sector, every sector has small business owner/operators, for each sector has entrepreneurs who run their own small operations. The duties and requirements are similar for all.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Experience in tourism is required of a successful small business owner/operator. Organizational skills, marketing, sales and customer service skills, and good communication skills are also necessary. In order to manage the tasks required, administrative skills, accounting and cash control skills and knowledge of business, the sector, industry and locale are mandatory. Desired skills for this position include management, leadership, risk management and human resource management skills. Financial management skills and office or business experience are also assets.

DUTIES
Meet and exceed guests? expectations, offer tourism information and promote local area and tourism, use business management skills, use sales and marketing skills, complete financial management tasks, use administrative skills, respond to enquiries and solve problems, maintain facility, equipment and supplies.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is required. A college diploma or degree in business, tourism, marketing or management is useful. Training in both first aid and small business management is an asset.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Expand business, purchase larger operation, Small Hotel Owner/Operator, Manager/Executive in other tourism businesses.

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Tour Operator

OVERVIEW
Tour operators are involved in planning, development, promotion, administration and implementation of tourism products. They oversee all the day-to-day tasks and also supervise, motivate and train staff. They are employed by tour or transportation companies, resorts or attractions. They may travel to proposed tour sites, check them out and experience the services first hand before assessing their tourism potential.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Management and tourism experience, human resource management skills, leadership and team-building skills, and financial management skills are all required. Good communication and excellent customer service skills are also necessary. Knowledge of relevant destinations, attractions and travel are important, as are research skills. Desired experience and skills include a second language, risk management skills and time management skills.

DUTIES
Use operations management skills, use sales and marketing skills, manage human resources, develop products, use financial management skills.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is required. A university degree or college diploma in tourism or history is an asset.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Senior Manager, General Manager, Owner/Operator of tour operation.

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Tour Director

OVERVIEW
Tour directors lead and accompany passengers on multi-day tours. They manage arrangements and services, and provide relevant information and commentary. Tour directors work for tour companies, resort chains and transportation companies.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
An outgoing personality, an interest in travel, geography, history and attractions, and good communication and presentation skills are required. Customer service skills and knowledge of the tour area are also necessary. Research skills, people and time management skills and a second language are also desired.

DUTIES
Provide general knowledge of attractions and destinations, develop and maintain an information file, prepare and deliver commentary, prepare for tour by making arrangements and confirming reservations, conduct tours, complete tour reports, daily logs and expense reports, assist special needs clients, escort passengers.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is preferred. A college diploma in tourism or a university degree in tourism, or with a concentration in history, is an asset.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Customer Service Manager, Tour Operator, Owner/Operator of tour company.

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Reservations Sales Agent

OVERVIEW
Reservations sales agents are front line professionals who facilitate the promotion, sales and booking of a company?s products and services. They are employed by travel agencies, tour and transportation companies, hotel chains and vehicle rental agencies.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Good telephone manner and etiquette are required, as are customer service skills, good communication skills and an ability to do detailed work. Computer experience, marketing and sales experience, research and organizational skills, and cash handling and time management skills are all desirable. Knowledge of a second language is an asset.

DUTIES
Provide travel information, itineraries and prices, use selling techniques to promote packages, insurance, etc. handle customer complaints or concerns, counsel clients on terms and conditions of travel, e.g. cancellation policies, book reservations and send out confirmation notices process payments and refunds.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is preferred. Courses in computers, languages and communications are an asset.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Reservations Manager, Senior Travel Counsellor, Operations Manager, General Manager, Agency Owner/Operator.

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Local Tour Guide

OVERVIEW
Local tour guides accompany passengers, individuals or groups on short trips, sightseeing tours or visits to attractions. They provide information, deliver commentary, answer questions and ensure the itinerary is met. They may develop tours or may be hired to deliver ready-made tours.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
Customer service skills and an interest in travel, geography, history and attractions are required. Good communication skills and presentation skills are also necessary. Desired experience and skills include time management skills and knowledge of the local geography, attractions and history. A second language is also an asset.

DUTIES
Provide general knowledge of an attraction, event or destination, develop and maintain an information file, prepare and deliver commentary, answer and/or research questions, complete tour reports, assist special needs clients, respond to emergencies.

RECOMMENDED EDUCATION
A secondary school diploma is preferred. A university degree or college diploma in tourism or history is an asset.

POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS
Tour Supervisor, Tour Director, Customer Service Manager, Tour Operator, Owner/Operator of tour company.

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