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exploring careers...

careers in tourism
(Information in this brochure has been extracted and adapted from and Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Southern Africa, offering immense potential for employment across a wide range of skills. Over 500 000 people are employed in tourism, from five-starhotel managers to cleaners. As South Africans travel both locally and abroad, you need to have knowledge not only of South Africa but also of other countries and understand transport, accommodation, tours, car hire, foreign exchange and insurance in these countries. South Africa offers everything from 5-star luxury accommodation to caravan and camping sites, from high-adventure activities to romantic getaways, so there are many different jobs in the travel and tourism sector. ACCESS It is essential that you have passed matric. Other formal qualifications will also help to get you into the tourism industry. Universities, universities of technology, technical colleges and private colleges offer various courses in travel and tourism. Make sure that private colleges are accredited with the proper authorities before studying with them. THETA (the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority) offers a system of learnerships and skills programmes where you can gain credits on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) while working in the industry. WORK ENVIRONMENT A career in travel and tourism is demanding, and you need to have good communication and organisational skills, be committed to quality and good service, be a team player, be well groomed, and be willing to demonstrate flexibility and the ability to work long hours, often under pressure. WHERE CAN I WORK? Airlines, car hire companies, cruise ships, events management organisations, foreign exchange bureaux, government tourism departments, tourism information bureaux, tourism boards/authorities and travel agencies employ those seeking a career in travel and tourism.

The following career opportunities, although not a definitive list, exist in this dynamic industry: Public sector Government tourism official Deals with the development of tourism policies and good practices for sustainable tourism Tourism development coordinator/manager Works with product owners or communities to develop tourism products such as attractions, cultural villages, markets, tourism routes, and other related products

Tourism information officer/coordinator/manager Collects, maintains and disseminates tourism information to tourists Tourism marketing coordinator/manager Promotes and markets the tourism product within an area Travel agency Retail travel consultant/agent Makes travel arrangements for individual and corporate clients Wholesale travel tour operator Involved in negotiating with hotels, airlines and car hire companies, and packaging these elements into a tour (These tours are then supplied to the retail travel agent who sells them to clients, or in some cases the wholesaler markets them directly.) Events management Events coordinator/manager Organises, coordinates and manages different events, and finds and organises venues, suppliers, caterers, lighting and sound, accommodation and entertainment for delegates Airlines Flight attendant Concerned with the comfort and safety of airline passengers Cabin crew Make sure that all necessary supplies are maintained Vehicle rental Car hire consultant Makes car hire bookings, arranges deliveries/pickups and administration, and accurately calculates, invoices and collects costs


TRAVEL AGENT A travel agent makes travel arrangements based on customers' needs, budgets and tastes. Clients include individuals, families or groups, and business people. The agent provides customers with information and answers any questions about transportation, passports, visas, currency regulations, tourist attractions, hotel reservations and flight bookings. He/she also makes other special arrangements which customers may request such as car rentals, sightseeing trips and traveller's cheques. Some agents, especially those who are self-employed, do promotional work, such as meeting with business managers to suggest company-sponsored trips. A travel agent should have a good appearance; be able to get along with others; be helpful, pleasant, friendly, patient, tactful and polite; be able to assume responsibility; have sales ability; be able to communicate well verbally and in writing; have broad travel experience; and be bilingual or multilingual. Training When you start working as an agent, you will receive in-service training. Initially, you will work mostly with files to acquaint yourself with the work. Pre-vocational and part-time courses are available. At some travel agencies an examination is written at the end of the first year. After sufficient basic knowledge has been gained, you may serve the public. Additional requirements Special licensing or certification is required by the Travel Agents Board. Travel agencies have to be licensed with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to be able to issue international airline tickets.

TOURIST GUIDE The main responsibility of a tourist guide is to escort groups of tourists on bus trips or minibus trips, and provide them with factual and interesting information about the sights they see. Many tourists have probably been on guided tours before, so a tourist guide's presentation needs to be dynamic to hold their interest. As a guide, you may be allocated a half-day sightseeing tour or a longer tour, in which case you will be responsible for ensuring adherence to the tour itinerary. You also need to provide tourists with information regarding currency, drinking water, restaurants and tipping customs. You should always be able to handle enquiries from the tour group. A tourist guide should have good communication skills; have an excellent knowledge of South Africa's places of interest, geography, unique history, politics, and flora and fauna; have good organisational skills; enjoy working with people; and be able to control groups of people and deal with unexpected situations. Training Most tour operators provide in-service training by an experienced tourist guide. Registration A tourist guide must be registered with Satour and is assessed by this body for the purpose of being granted a licence. Licences are granted on three levels: for a particular city only, for a wider region, or for a country as a whole. A few large tour operators employ tourist guides on a permanent basis, but the work is seasonal and the majority of tourist guides work on a freelance basis. TOURISM MANAGER Tourism is currently the fastest growing industry in South Africa. Overseas tourists in particular find South Africa sunny, interesting and affordable. However, more should be done to ensure their safety. As a tourism manager you will work with tourists of different cultures and traditions from countries across the world. You must therefore be able to keep different needs and requirements in mind. You have to market your product or service creatively and dynamically. Different target markets have to be identified and appropriate packages have to be designed for these target markets. It is important that your products attract people and persuade them to return to a destination they have visited. As most tourists will be on holiday, you must be willing to work irregular hours. A tourism manager should be able to work with all kinds of people; have good communication skills; have an excellent knowledge of South Africa's places of interest, geography, unique history, politics, and flora and fauna; have good organisational skills; and be able to control groups of people and deal with unexpected situations. Possible employers Game farms, guest houses, holiday resorts, hotel groups, game lodges, entertainment resorts and the South African Tourism Board are possible employers, and you can also choose to be self-employed. EVENTS ORGANISER The events organiser plans, sets up and organises events such as conferences and exhibitions for firms, institutions and professional organisations. You may organise public events such as agricultural/horticultural shows, antique and toy fairs, and motor, caravan and boat shows. You may also organise specific events such as company days, which may include team-building activities. These may involve outdoor challenges in an unfamiliar terrain, such as those on orienteering or adventure trips. The events organiser selects and books a suitable venue, sends out information, and reserves accommodation for participants. You will be responsible for the catering, reception facilities and specialist

equipment for each event. For example, a conference may require microphones, and photocopying, video and computer facilities. You may also have to arrange speakers, media coverage and transport. The events organiser checks all details and liaises with venue staff to ensure that the event runs smoothly. You will supervise the health and safety requirements of each event and ensure that visitors can leave the event quickly and safely if necessary.


Degrees and diplomas s BCom degree with specialisation in Tourism Management s BA (Languages and Literature) with specialisation in Language and Culture for International Tourism s NDip & BTech: Tourism Management University certificate s Certificate in Tourist Guiding Certificate programmes/short courses s s s s s s Department of Transport Economics and Logistics (Tourism): Advanced Programme in Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Tourism Awareness Tour Operators Management Bed and Breakfast Management

CAREER RESEARCH RESOURCES Search for information about careers in tourism on the Internet, and in magazines and books. Conduct informational interviews with individuals in the field that you are interested in. More information about informational interviewing is available on the Unisa website at Visit the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (THETA) for information about this industry and training information. POSITIVE CAREER DEVELOPMENT WHILE YOU ARE STUDYING CONSISTS OF ... the successful choice of a qualification, after proper research in terms of your own interests, skills, values and personality combined with specific occupational knowledge. carefully chosen and committed extramural involvement that will enable you to improve your employability. full-time/part-time vacation or voluntary work. continuous research of career and job options leading from your qualification. BUREAU FOR COUNSELLING, CAREER AND ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT The Bureau can assist you with issues regarding your career development: Make an appointment to see a counsellor in person. Phone a counsellor. Send an e-mail to Visit the website at CONTACT US
Pretoria: (012) 429-3513 Johannesburg: (011) 630-4535 Polokwane: (015) 290-3441 KwaZulu-Natal: (031) 335-1745 Western Cape: (021) 936-4130 Fax: (012) 429-3698 Fax: (011) 630-4537 Fax: (015) 291-3448 Fax: (031) 337-4142 Fax: (021) 936-4131