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Is tourism right for you?

If you’re interested in entering the tourism industry, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll be a travel fanatic. You’ll probably have had some experience yourself in planning personal holidays and exploring various destinations, both throughout Australia and overseas. You will be passionate about providing information, recommendations and assistance to help others plan journeys and travel to their dream destinations. You might even choose to lead travel tours yourself, which requires confidence and leadership ability.

Apart from a passion for travel and great people skills, a tourism professional will also ideally be highly organised. You must be prepared to plan every aspect of a trip, from flights and accommodation through to tours, tickets, currency and so on.

Tourism professionals are also expected to have great general knowledge about various destinations and travel procedures, as well as strong communication and active listening skills to assist in meeting clients’ needs. You’ll also need problem-solving skills to deal with any issues that may arise (lost documents, cancelled flights, insurance claims and so on).

Job opportunities

The tourism and travel industry is moderately sized in Australia, currently employing around 22,000 workers. Here are a few facts from the Australian Government Job Outlook regarding employment in this industry:

  • In the period up to mid-2022, around 12,000 tourism and travel job openings are likely.
  • The average salary for a tourism/travel consultant is around $40,000, but can range anywhere from $30,000 to the high $50,000s depending on the role, area and level of expertise.
  • Around 75% of tourism and travel advisers are employed full-time.

Types of courses

Those wanting to further their education in the tourism and travel industry are spoilt for choice with the range of tourism courses available throughout Australia. With lots of short courses as well as nationally recognised Certificate-level qualifications, there’s something for people at every level and with every tourism career ambition. Let’s take a brief look at each of the types of courses and what they involve.

Short courses

Tourism short courses are usually broken down into two types: courses for tourism and travel beginners, and courses for those already working in the industry who want to upskill or expand their expertise on a number of industry-specific subjects.  

Certificate I

Certificate I courses provide an entry-level qualification for those wishing to enter the tourism industry. Some Certificate I courses are focused on a specific aspect of the industry – for example, preparing students to work in a range of roles in organisations with an Indigenous cultural focus.

Certificate II

A Certificate II in Tourism will equip you with the basic industry knowledge and skills you need for an entry-level tourism or travel role. You’ll learn how to interact with customers, source and provide information to visitors, process travel documentation and more.

Certificate III

Certificate III courses in travel and tourism provide a more comprehensive introduction to the industry and equip students with well-developed service, sales or operational skills. Certificate III courses cover tourism coordination and delivery as well as tourism office operations, while more specific courses may prepare students to work as a guide and deliver tours.

Certificate IV

Certificate IV courses are comprehensive courses that provide students with a broad range of skills and a strong knowledge of industry operations. These types of courses allow students to pursue tourism and travel careers with supervisory responsibilities.

Career Outcomes

A career in tourism could see you working in an established agency or tourist information centre, or even working for yourself and consulting with clients on a freelance/sole trader basis. Potential job titles include:

  • Event Coordinator
  • Travel Adviser
  • Travel Agency Manager
  • Tour Operations Manager
  • Tour Guide
  • Cruise Consultant
  • Sales Representative
  • Tourist Information Officer
  • Booking Agent
  • Tour Desk Operator

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