A dearth of trained professionals in this industry, prompted travel companies like Thomas Cook and The Kuoni Group, which owns SOTC, SITA and VFS GLOBAL to launch their own academies. While Kuoni Academy has 22 centres, Thomas Cook’s Centre of Learning has two outlets in Mumbai and Delhi. Both academies offer a range of programmes, at various levels. For Class 12 students, Kapil Srivastava, Regional Head – North & East of Kuoni Academy recommends the one-year UG Diploma in Travel & Tourism Management. The course teaches students domain subjects like travel geography; itinerary planning; fare calculation; destination knowledge and Global Distributions Systems like Galileo, used for making reservations. Soft skill training in areas like interviews, personality development and language improvement is also included in the course, which costs approximately Rs. 80,000. Employment opportunities exist in Front Office of hotels, visa services, tourist information offices, airports, travel companies/agencies, cruise liners, national and international tourism boards and travel BPOs that handle the back-end services for airlines as well as online travel booking sites like Yatra and Makemytrip. Students who want to make a career in this industry are advised to keep abreast of upcoming and large-scale avenues like pilgrimages, adventure, medical tourism, leisure and MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions). Salaries vary across the length and breadth of the industry. “The larger the organisation the lower the packages,” observes Kapil. The case is the same with the hospitality industry as brand names and work exposure is more in both cases. One can expect between Rs. 10,000 to 15000 depending on your presentation and communication skills. Hotel chains such as the Marriot also absorb those from travel & tourism courses. “They join either in Front Office or Reservations where there is a lot of guest interaction. Very rarely do they really look for a career in hotels. Their aim is to get exposure and training and eventually work with airlines and travel houses,” observes Gurmeet Singh, Area Director of HR India, Maldives of Marriott Int’l. Thomas Cook’s Centre of Learning offers a four-month course for those who have finished 10 + 2 to help one master travel destinations. Those wishing to qualify in Montreal-international certification IATA can register for training programmes offered at both Kuoni and Thomas Cook. “It is recognised internationally, and opportunities can be sought in India in ticketing & management,” shares Kapil.More job-oriented diplomas: Animation | Fashion, textile, communication design | Hospitality
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