I Want to Work In … Travel & Tourism


Travel Careers

including Ecotourism and what you can do with a degree in tourism.


Useful starting points:


PROFILE: Tourism Information Centre Manager

Provides information to tourists about local attractions, events and accommodation. Deals with enquiries face to face, by phone, and post.
EMPLOYERS: mainly local authorities but also national parks, private organisations.
SATISFACTIONS: helping people, variety.
NEGATIVES: lower level posts may be seasonal.
SKILLS: languages, verbal communication, organising, computing, teamworking, negotiating.
DEGREE: any degree subject, business, tourism, languages are all helpful.
TIPS: "Get experience in shops, hotels, travel agents etc. Gain a good knowledge of the locality in which you wish to work."


PROFILE: Travel Agent

INVOLVES: Clerical/technical sorting of travel arrangements. Financial & computer work after hours to ensure people & destinations match. Giving advice on travel matters. Marketing holidays & travel. Selling to customers. Meeting targets.
EMPLOYERS: Large agency chains e.g. Thomas Cook. Independent travel companies: Trailfinders, Campus Travel.
RELATED JOBS: tour guide, retail manager. hotel manager, tourism information centre manager, conference administrator.
SATISFACTIONS: Seeing someone coming back from a good trip totally relaxed/changed.
NEGATIVES: Paperwork. Stress of achieving turnaround of passengers in peak time (e.g. a queue of people flying tomorrow). Low pay, but somewhat cancelled out by holiday perks.
SKILLS: spoken communication, persuading, listening, cooperating.
ADVANCEMENT: Limited management structure - Consultant/Senior Consultant/Manager. Regional Manager/...MD - chances to move to HQ as sales etc. The profession is bottom heavy with a lot of staff competing for promotion.
DEGREE: Any degree subject is acceptable - languages, area studies (e.g. European), geography, tourism useful.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: not needed for entry.
VACANCY SOURCES: Travel & Trade Gazette.
TIPS: Try speculative letters to HQ of travel companies. Stress travel experience/sales /computing skills. Time out for travelling may be advantage for independent travel companies.


PROFILE: Holiday Representative

Looks after holidaymakers at resorts. Meets people on arrival. Organises excursions and entertainment. Acts as a tour guide. Handles problems such as lost possessions or passports. Deals with illness of guests. Liaises with hotel managers.
EMPLOYERS: Holiday companies, hotels, transport companies.
SATISFACTIONS: helping people, working in a beautiful location, variety.
NEGATIVES: Poor pay, pressurised and stressful, long and unsocial hours, work may be seasonal.
SKILLS: people skills, stamina, commonsense, enthusiasm, tact, language skills.
TIPS: apply speculatively to holiday companies. Often a stepping stone to other tourism jobs.

Books (available in the Careers Service)Travel Careers


Tourism in Kent

See our Working in Kent pages www.kent.ac.uk/careers/kentopps.htm#Tourism for details of other organisations in the tourism and transport sector that have a presence in Kent

Tourist Guiding

Tourism Management Graduates

Employers will be as interested in your personal skills as your degree subject. The tourism industry will be recruiting potential managers and so decision making, problem solving, working effectively within a team and flexibility will be essential. In an industry where personal service to the customer is so important, an outgoing, friendly personality and the ability to think on your feet will be an advantage. Good communication and presentation skills are essential and you will need language skills to work abroad.

You will need to show evidence of having and using relevant skills so think carefully about your academic and other experience and be prepared to describe situations where you have demonstrated them. See your careers adviser if you need help with skills mapping.

Destinations of Kent Tourism Management Graduates



Ecotourism has been defined as, "Travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people." It involves helping people to understand and appreciate the environment including the need for wildlife conservation and respect for native peoples.

There is a wide range of job opportunities involved with ecotourism including wildlife lodge manager, trail leader, ecotour naturalist, educational instructor, PR Executive, marketing manager and program director. You may work for a private company that runs tours, or a national park or outdoor education center. You could eventually manage your own ecotourism business. The work can sometimes be dangerous, and the hours long. If you are a tour guide in the jungle, you have to be constantly on the lookout for potential dangers to your hikers. Much of the work in ecotourism is seasonal. It is helpful to be fluent in a language used in major ecotourism destinations. As it is a relatively new area there is not much careers information available, so you will need to use Creative Jobhunting techniques

Other information resources


Last fully updated 2013