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Feed Your Passion for Adventure - Become a Travel Agent

September 14 2015 - Travel agents assist their clients to make all the arrangements required for the best possible experience in business and leisure travel. Travel agents are required to be extremely well-informed about all modes of transport, accommodation and their amenities and facilities as well as destinations and various regulations governing visitor entry by different countries. Customers rely upon them to make informed suggestions on the best ways of reaching destinations, whether the destinations are suitable for the purpose expressed by the client, necessary foreign currencies, and travel documentation required.

Ideal Qualities Required of a Travel Agent

Candidates wanting to become travel agents must have a passion for travel and a deep desire to know about domestic and foreign destinations, their culture and people, the way the travel industry is governed and a desire to help customers find the best solutions to their travel requirements. The requirements of customers traveling for business purposes differ quite lot from that of those wanting to go on vacations. Therefore, the travel agent must be extremely discerning and should be able to customize appropriate and relevant packages.

Since the industry is extremely technologically evolved, travel agents are also required to be computer and internet-savvy as well as familiar with the operation of airline booking software applications. Candidates should expect to spend long hours in front of computers or interacting with customers who may be quite stressful to deal with. A pleasant demeanor, an outgoing personality, patience and adaptability as well as knowledge of a few foreign languages can be of great help.

Education Qualifications and Other Requirements

Unlike scientific and technical careers, it is enough for candidates wanting to pursue a career in the travel sector to have a high school diploma. However, due to intense competition, most employers would prefer to hire those who have acquired a degree or a diploma in travel managements. Such courses are widely available and can equip candidates with all the fundamentals that are essential for a career in the travel sector. These courses cover a variety of topics such as international travel regulations, reservation systems, and aspirations of business travelers as well as top destinations that are favored by the leisure travelers. Due to a worldwide scarcity of travel professionals, most travel agencies are willing to provide on the job training to candidates without prior experience.

Certifications, Licenses, and Registrations

Career prospects are greatly enhanced with the acquisition of certifications from professional bodies governing the travel sector such as Cruise Lines International Association and International Airline Transport Association's Training and Development Institute.

Many travel agencies that specialize in leisure travel require their travel consultants to be familiar with international destinations and are willing to invest in relevant travel for their employees. This is simply because it can be very problematic offering advice to customers without having first-hand knowledge of the destination and its various nuances. Those interested to set up travel agencies should find out the regulations and licensing requirements applicable in their state as these can vary widely.

Keeping Up With Technology

The travel sector is completely dependent on technology for making airline, cruise, and hotel reservations. Travel agencies that are affiliated to International Air Transport Association (IATA) will require their employees to be experts in operating Global Distribution Systems to search for travel information, compare ticket prices and book the most viable option. Agents who may be operating out of home and are typically non-IATA affiliated will require familiarity with packages like TTS Consolidator or TTS Web Agent. Travel agents must be comfortable with internet-connected mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets so that they are able to field client requests on the go, round-the clock.

Develop Specific Expertise

After spending some time to learn the ropes of all aspects of a travel agency operation, it may be necessary for candidates to develop specific expertise so that they assume the position of expert consultant on some aspects of the travel industry. You could choose to focus only on business travel and package travel products not only for demanding business executives but also for the meetings, incentives, conferences and events that can rake in millions in revenues. You could choose to develop expertise in putting together vacation packages for families or even specialize in niche products such as wedding and honeymoon packages.

Author Bio:

June Mallory is a wildlife photographer who has shot a number of documentaries on wildlife habitats. June's feature on wildlife safaris Maharashtra has won a number of prestigious awards.

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