Tourism and travel is a major contributor to the national economy of India. India is known for its vast abodes of green and fertile lands, valleys, rivers and fountains. There are many fascinating monuments, heritage spots, sightseeing destinations and beautiful temples, spread in all directions of India. Domestic tourism has increased over the years, due to impetus on inline transportation and civil aviation.
Due to globalization and international trade, tourism sector has flourished by great measures in the international sector. Tourists beyond national boundaries have exponentially increased in numbers. Foreign tourists include many ambassadors of international co-operation. Hence, the tourism potential of a nation strengthens the position of the nation on a global stage, besides promoting globalization and raised national income.
Tourism is creating new avenues and career opportunities for the youth. The process of visa procurement has become easy, due to the online system. Infrastructure facilities including roads and highways have increased manifold and this will certainly promote increased tourism in the days to come. Because of better road connectivity, many new and unidentified beautiful destinations have been traced. Internet marketing has created new frontiers in the sector of travel and tourism, by highlighting the sightseeing destinations to people far and wide.
For those interested in travelling and adventures, career in travel and tourism sector is a fine choice. Increasing numbers of tourism circuits are being created in all corners of the Indian subcontinent. The areas included under the domain of travel and tourism are continually expanding and discovering new horizons. Some of the emerging and prospective career options in the field are space tourism, health tourism, adventure tourism as well as religious and cultural tourism.
In order to make a career in this field, students must be well versed in the regional languages and dialects. This enables them to interact with the visitors in more amicable and effective manner. To communicate with international tourists, they must have command over foreign languages like English, German, French and Spanish. They need to possess flair for developing their linguistic abilities and curiosity for languages and cultures. The candidates must possess effective interpersonal and observational skills.
Tourism strengthens the economy and boosts national growth as earnings through foreign exchange is raised due to inflow of tourists. In the year 1999, 25 lakh foreign tourists landed in India. This figure has risen to over 77 lakhs, as per the statistics for the year 2016. With rise in the immigration of foreign tourists, foreign exchange has increased more than proportionately or as predicted on the basis of tourist visits’ figures.
Tourism and travel sector is open to all students who like to pursue life of their dreams and ambitions, rather than bothering about career security. In this field, a student is not bound to perform too well in his or her exams or excel in a theoretical perspective. Skills like observation, personality, and ability to interact and act as channel of information are of higher prominence as compared to performance in academics.
After their higher secondary exams, students interested in tourism can enroll in various undergraduate courses provided by Institutes of travel and tourism, spread across all corners of India. While selecting an institute, students and their parents must ensure the institute has good infrastructure and training facilities. After graduation, students may apply for master of business administration in the specialization of tourism. Alternately, graduated students may opt for hotel management courses and contribute to the hospitality industry. The option of post graduation is open to students, who have graduated in other disciplines like arts or science. This adds more versatility to the sector.
Personnel working with the tourism department need to have basic skills like effective communication. They need to be polite and courteous, but smart enough to handle customer complaints. At present, there are many job options for students of travel and tourism to select from. Each one is associated with certain skill sets, but the major requirements are more or less same.
- Tour operator: The job of a tour operator or travel coordinator is to conduct tours at the various destinations. The candidates must possess interactive skills and must be able to cater to the diverse requirements of the visitors.
- Heritage tourism: This career choice is ideal for the students of tourism who are actively interested in Indian heritage and take pride in procuring detailed historical information from heritage sites like forts and temples. Heritage tourism is an attractive career choice in states with rich cultural heritage such as Rajasthan.
- Travel agent: The job of a travel agent is to act as a connecting link between the travel agency and the tourists. Hence, travel agents provide key information, that tourists need in order to make their holiday stay hassle free and comfortable. This includes details about prime tourist spots, hotel accommodations available, timings of return journeys through railways or air and most significantly the local cuisines.
- Holiday consultant: The role of a holiday consultant is to provide complete information relating to the tour plans. Tourists can refer to holiday consultants, in advance of their journeys and take their suggestions on varying crucial points with regard to the trip. It has been observed that with the help of consultants, visitors can make better tourism related decisions during their holidays. Recently, holiday consultant has become an on demand job.
- Hospitality sector: Hotels and suites form an indispensable part of tourism related infrastructure. Hence, the hotel industry is progressing in parallel with the growth in tourism industry. Jobs in hotel sector have increased a lot. Hotel management course is open for students who want to link with the hospitality sector.
- Specialization in cuisine: For students who cannot travel too much, this option is preferable. One can take active interest in the cuisines specific to the region, learnt about its preparation, historical connection and demand. By learning about the local food, one may have a fast food corner or restaurant, where some locally famous cuisine is served to welcome the tourists.
From the career perspective, tourism is a flourishing sector, with numerous job opportunities in the public and private sector. Some of the high profile tourism based jobs are in Immigration and Custom services and Hotel management staff. The major recruiters include Tourist information offices, Cruise liners, Foreign exchange department, Visa services department, National and International Tourism Boards and Travel Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
Even while pursuing their studies, students may opt for part time jobs like airlines, cargo etc. This helps in soft skills’ development apart from arranging a part of finances for their studies.
Professionals linked to Human Resources Department, Customer relationship management, business development, public relations and event management can also find good scope in the Tourism and travel industry.
Tourism and travel is a highly paying job, owing to the increasing influx of tourists every year. Those working in government offices are assured of job security. The salary of a travel co-ordinates starts from 3.5 lacs per annum. Corporate level personnel including executive secretary are paid handsome salaries beginning from 7.8 lacs in a year along with additional benefits like house rent allowance and medical insurance.
Private tourism agencies depend on the tourism potential and infrastructure specific to a given locality. Their annual profits are variable and seasonally affected. A job in a private company can be challenging, but travel agents may face security issues.
- A career in tourism gives plenty of opportunities to travel far and while, while the cost of travel is reimbursed as travel allowance.
- Tourism based jobs provide facilities to employees for learning adventure sports and engaging time for their favorite activities.
- People might pursue the opinion that the field of tourism is for average and below average students who have not qualified any entrance tests. This is a misconception which affects career choice of a student. Even a skilled student might fear to apply for a graduation course in tourism due to such social bias.
- At the beginning of a career in tourism, candidates have to face a lot of struggle and hold their patience. In a private travel company, even good performance on behalf of the staff might not satisfy the senior authorities.
There are bright prospects for tourism based professions in the upcoming years. According to estimated reports, capital invested in the tourism related infrastructure would be of the order of one lakh crore rupees. Some new job profiles will also be open for students of varied educational backgrounds in the years to come. This includes medical tourism, conferences management, exhibitions management, ecotourism management, shopping tourism, sports tourism etc.