Skills for tourism & leisure
It is an interesting career choice where you work harder generally for a lower return compared with most other industries. Unlike the oil or banking industry, the margins are tight and this is manifest in lower salaries. It is not a reflection on the calibre or industrious demands placed on staff.
Tourism can embrace all four personality types. Influencers make excellent representatives and guides. Running events and motivating participants perfectly fits their profile. Supporters like the customer service element, whether it is managing the experience in terms of organising accommodation, food or arranging the travel itinerary. Analysts are plentifully employed in IT and support functions within the tourist industry, as well as captains of planes and ships who ferry and transport the tourists. Creatives may be entertainers on cruise ships as pianists, instrumentalists or singers, or they may organise nightly shows. Many large cruise liners will have their own art galleries which are an ideal opportunity for a Creative to capitalise on their passion for art and sculpture. Advertising their package deal, capturing the imagination are the goals for all tourist organisations and here the creative talent is in demand for adventure and promotion.
Tourism is a varied career choice with endless opportunities. Its seasonal nature may suit candidates who are also of the mentality to have 'a gap year every year'.
Work Life and the Balance is one of my booklet publications and although the title provokes a humorous reaction, it does reflect the underlying desire for better work/life balance in today's work environment: this has a positive effect on tourism. We know of students who have embarked on faraway travel to ride elephants, jump out of planes and swim with sharks. And we know that there is an increase in tourism via the grey pound. Many people who have retired early or otherwise are healthy, fit and have accumulated surplus disposable income. Their leisure expectations have become more eventful whereby they would prefer to explore a safari park living under canvas rather than to chill out on a deck chair by a sandy beach. Leisure and educational activity holidays are growing and international tourism is viewed as a positive career destination offering adventure and scope.
Countries such as India and China were not long ago considered to be in the developmental stage. They have now developed and their phenomenal growth in the middle class segment has allowed tourist organisations to expand.
Tourism presents the opportunity for candidates to link their leisure activity with work activity. As a simple example, imagine being a holiday rep for a company specialising in ski holidays. Whilst the role is normally 'full on' and demanding, there is always the opportunity to hit the slopes on rest days.
Hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, opera, musicals, theatre productions, famous sights, airlines, trains, cruise ships and sporting events can all be grouped directly or indirectly under the tourism banner.
Tourism is reacting to ecological concerns where the client is becoming more aware of the carbon footprint and sustainability. The ideal package is where the traveller feels that their enjoyment is in sympathy with good care for the environment. They are pleased that their holiday is following the current trend and helping to fund the alleviation of habitat destruction through, for example, rainforest regeneration.
Tourism is sensitive to local and world recession. This volatility must be factored in when you are choosing tourism as your career goal. You can envisage a variety of roles and opportunities, as it is a transparent industry which most of us have experience of as a customer at various levels. This fluidity means it is an industry where it is difficult to map out a structured career path. It is seen as an expanding industry, constantly trying to innovate as endorsed by the offer by Virgin of trips to the moon. Here the sky is not the limit!