JEENAL KAKKA, a peppy 26-year old believes in following her heart when it comes to matters concerning her job. Unusual as it may sound to many, Jeenal, after finishing Class 12 at St. Agnes High School in Mumbai, left a Bachelor’s programme to enrol in a diploma course.
She first joined the Nirmali Ketan College of Home Science, but within 14 months Jeenal realised that her five-year degree course in kitchen science did not interest her; it neither suited her temperament nor aptitude. So, the Mumbai girl dropped out to pursue a one-year Diploma in Travel and Tourism at the Kuoni Academy. “I love travelling, and am an adventure freak!” she says explaining her choice. Add-on programmes: Alongside the diploma, Jeenal also completed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) programme, a four-year course by Kuoni Academy on air-ticketing. She strengthened her knowledge in the travel/ tourism domain by also undertaking a one-month Swiss Tourism training programme. “In the travel business, one has to know the places well,” she says. The cost for all three programmes completed in a span of one year: Rs 116,000. While doing the undergraduate programme, Jeenal also pursued a Bachelor in Arts from Mumbai University. “Though in this sector, experience counts more than having a Bachelor’s degree. I did my BA to keep my options open for further growth,” she adds. Job profile: Jeenal joined GoGoa.com through campus placements. The 10-year old company specialises in Goa tourism. “Recently, the firm also ventured into Mumbai tourism and has launched a website, Mumbaistopover.com,” she apprises us. Jeenal, who joined as an executive sales officer, co-ordinates with hotels and the clients for their travel and accommodation arrangements.
Pay package: Into her job for three months and Jeenal received a raise of Rs. 2,000. “My current salary is Rs. 11,000,” she says. Isn’t it less for a city like Mumbai, we wonder. “The starting salary in this industry is between Rs 6,000-9,000,” she informs us, having applied to established travel firms like Thomas Cook, Cox and Kings and Kesari Tours. The extended work timings were another deterrent. GoGoa suited her fine on both the counts.
Growth prospects: Jeenal maintains that getting a job in travel and tourism is not a tall order. But one needs refined communication skills as interaction with clients is a lot in this field. “One has to be a good listener, too, that’s what my training taught me,” she says. An undergraduate like Jeenal can rise to the level of a Tour Operator, which involves planning end-to-end itinerary of a client along with cost details. The profile further up the ladder is Manager, which involves handling special customers and hotels. “With my IATA experience backing me, I plan to open up my own travel agency one day,” Jeenal says.
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