Finding the right certification program or professional course is obviously one of the prerequisites for a successful career start. Or is it? Anyone interested in becoming a travel agent is probably wondering what the best certification opportunities are. Several industry experts have accepted the challenging task of answering this crucial question.
The Practical Experience
Most industry reps seem to agree that real-life experience in a travel agency is much more important than going for a course or pursuing a particular kind of certificate.
According to Ridha Lanouar from American Beyond Travel, an internship in a travel agency is very beneficial for anyone pursuing professional realization in the field.
Alexander Dold from Dold World Journeys is a successful professional that doesn’t have any certificate. “I do not possess any type of travel degree or certificate and don’t really believe in them. Always thought it would be better for anyone going into travel to gain experience first hand,” Dold said.
This seems to be the general consensus among travel professionals. While professional education does establish the groundwork, the practical experience gained through actual work with clients cannot be replicated in any other way.
The Importance of Courses for Starting a Travel Business
Anyone interested in starting their own travel business will need the background that will lead to the selection of the most effective procedures and modus operandi. A background in business can be quite beneficial, tourism industry reps and experts seem to agree.
A bachelor’s degree is the absolute minimum that will acquaint and individual with the basics of starting a business. Looking for a degree in business administration will make sense in this case, Betty O’Brien from Ask About Luxury said.
Apart from pursuing a bachelor’s degree, professionals may look at individual businessrelated courses. Business planning, software usage and marketing courses will be helpful, giving travel agents some competitive advantage, Festival Tours representative Ray Heckmann said.
Other Courses, Education and Qualification Options to Pursue
CTC and CTM certification is a certain opportunity for distinguishing yourself from other professionals in the field. Most of the industry experts seem to agree that pursuing such certificates is worth the time and effort when it comes to career development.
“CTC/CTM certifications will show a potential employer that you are serious about your career, but I don’t think anyone has ever hired someone in the travel industry because of these certifications. Joining professional networks … and being active in them will have just as much impact and learning potential,” Colombe McCarthy from DAI Travel said.
Finally, there are other educational materials and opportunities to learn from apart from getting certified. Subscribing for specialized travel publications, Heckmann said, is a wonderful opportunity for learning about the industry and its newest trends.
The general agreement among travel industry experts is that particular educational background is far from a prerequisite for success in the field. Real-life experience and personality happen to be much more critical factors for climbing up the professional ladder. Still, CTC and CTM certification suggests seriousness about getting established, which is why pursuing the opportunity is generally considered a good idea.