How to get a job in travel and tourism

Welcome to the latest instalment in our Be Ambitious series. Today we're spreading our wings and looking at the colourful world of travel and tourism.

Why travel and tourism?

A job in travel and tourism is a hugely appealing idea - being paid to wander the globe exploring foreign lands and experiencing different cultures and customs. How many other industries give you the opportunity to blur the line between work and play so effectively?

What you'll need

Obviously a healthy love of travel and all things travel-related is a great start for a job in this industry. But there are other desirable personal qualities as well. Travel is a very people-oriented industry, so being a "people person" is pretty important. You'll also need good communication skills and meticulous attention to detail as this kind of work involves a lot of organising; booking flights, tours, accommodation and organising itineraries. You'll also need good marketing and selling skills – convincing someone exactly why a particular destination or activity is exactly what they're looking for. A sense of humour and engaging personality will help you here. And let's not forget the often overlooked skill of being a good listener and remembering people's names.

Get qualified

Regarding more formal qualifications, TAFE NSW's Certificate III in Travel is an excellent starting point for anyone entering the industry. This qualification has no entry requirements and is a popular pathway for higher level qualifications such as the Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism. The Advanced Diploma is also available through TAFE NSW Online flexible delivery.

What else you can do

In the mean time, you can always profile your own city or town as a tourist destination in a blog or online diary. What's the best way of getting around? Where are the best places to eat (or places to avoid)? What's the best time of year to visit? Offer a local's perspective, something that's always valued by travellers. And this kind of initiative will impress potential employers and may well give you an edge over other candidates.

Working in the travel and tourism industry can be an enormously satisfying career path. Not only are you helping other people realise their own travel dreams, but your work will literally take you to many different places all over the world, effectively turning the entire planet into your workplace. And where else can you channel the kind of thing people usually do when they're on holidays into your day-to-day work?

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