Tourism Industry – Sectors and Career Development
The Tourist Industry
Careers in Tourism - 2
Tourist attractions operate in both the private and public sectors. Private sector attractions, such as theme parks and resorts, are in business to make a profit. Public sector attractions, such as zoos, national parks and museums, operate on a non-profit basis.
Private sector: In theme parks, opportunities exist in staffing food service areas, gift shops and rides. Many of these positions are seasonal, depending upon when the park is open. Often the way to a full-time position is by working as a seasonal employee.
Many holiday resorts require recreational staff. Instructors are needed to teach the activities offered at the resorts. Recreation programming or guest activity directors are needed to plan, design and organise the guest activity programs for those staying at the resort. Such positions are similar to the social director position aboard a cruise ship. A degree in park and recreation administration is desirable for such jobs.
Public Sector: Public sector attractions, such as zoos, museums and national parks, aim to teach the public about the natural world. Most jobs in public sector attractions are civil service positions and require that the applicant pass appropriate civil service tests.
The people in charge of public attractions require specialized knowledge and degrees. In a museum, a curator is responsible for locating, acquiring, and exhibiting the items on display. Advanced degrees in fine art are required for such a position. A zoo director may be required to have a degree in zoology while national park specialists require degrees in botany, biology or ecology.
Public attractions also have staff that engage with the public through lectures, walks, exhibits and displays. As well as qualifications, these workers should have the ability to attract and entertain visitors whilst educating them about the natural world. This can be done through lectures, walks, exhibits and displays. In national parks, the most visible position of this kind is the park ranger.
Support jobs are also needed for public attractions. For example, museums need security people and zoos require people to care for animals and maintain their enclosures.
A variety of jobs are available in the accommodation industry. Within a hotel there are several departments, each with job opportunities. The major operating departments are the front office, housekeeping and food and beverage service. Typical entry-level positions would be baggage porter, desk clerk, room attendant, server or kitchen helper. In the kitchen a specialised diploma in cooking would be required.
While some hotel managers rise to the top through on-the-job experience, the preferred route is through a specialised degree in hotel and restaurant administration followed by a period of working in the various departments.
Opportunities also exist in a number of support departments such as marketing, accounting and convention services.
There are two different staff teams in a restaurant, dining room staff and kitchen staff.
Most dining room staff are waiter/waitresses and are under the supervision of a maitre’d. They are responsible for taking customer orders and ensuring the dining room remains presentable and clean. Entry level waiting positions are often available in restaurants.
The majority of kitchen staff are chefs. Specialist qualifications are required for such positions. Entry level positions are available in kitchens as dishwashers and kitchen porters.
Tourist Board and Tourist Information Offices
Tourist boards and tourist information offices also offer employment opportunities within the tourist industry.
Tourist boards promote a country as a tourist destination in other countries. Most tourist board jobs are in marketing and PR and require a specialist qualification. Entry level positions can be found in administrative positions.
Tourist information offices are offices established by a country’s tourist board to promote tourism at a local level. These offices are open to the general public and offer free information on the attractions within an area. They also offer free maps and brochures etc. Entry level positions are available for information desk staff. However, a qualification in tourism/hospitality is preferred.
Tourist Information services also employ marketing and PR staff. These specialist positions require a relevant qualification.
A travel agency is a company that offer travel services to the public on behalf of suppliers. Essentially, travel agents negotiate with tourist companies in order to get the best price for customers. They earn money by taking a commission on all sales.
Specialised training is required to become a travel agent. A number of schools offer hands-on training for people interested in such work. It is also possible to move into the operations of an agency from other areas, particularly airline reservations. Such people can transfer skills and knowledge gained in working for the airlines to an agency. Entry level employees work as sales representatives, selling the agency's services to individuals and groups.
Travel agents can take advanced courses to further their qualifications. For example, in the USA, the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA) and The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) both offer courses.
There is a lot of room for promotion and advancement within travel agencies. Agents may rise within an agency, go on to own their own agency, or move into a related area of travel. One such area is corporate travel management. A corporate travel manager handles the travel budget and policy for a company. This person can either work with an outside travel agency or establish an in-house travel department.
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Careers in Tourism - 2