Want to be a qualified professional in the tourism industry? Distance learning is skyrocketing, and tourism studies are part of the trip. Yep, you don’t need a full-time university degree to succeed in this career path.
Tourism is a pretty vast term, but generally refers to the organisation and operation of travels to different places and destinations, both locally and internationally. It’s a big business worldwide, and probably includes more activities, businesses and careers than you could name in ten breaths.
Here are some examples of tourism businesses:
- Cruise ship journeys
- Safari tours
- Travel agencies
- Travel writing
- Bed & Breakfasts
As you can imagine, each of these businesses have many different job positions – from travel consultants to IT specialists to marketing executives.
In truth, many people who end up in the tourism industry didn’t explicitly study tourism, but use whatever qualification they did get to apply their knowledge in the industry. For example, someone with a degree in IT could work for any tourism company, in the tech department. Or someone with a degree in media might find a job as a writer for a travel blog.
Having said this, getting a qualification in tourism itself can be really beneficial if you want to be skilled and equipped for various departments in the tourism industry. Basically, it will allow you to pick and choose which area in the tourism industry you want to grow in.
22-year old Bianca Frischknecht studied towards a Diploma in Tourism Management via distance learning, specialising in globalisation and how it relates to the travel and tourism industry. Since 2015, this native Swiss globetrotter has been travelling the world as a cabin crew member for the Edelweiss airline.
She explains that her qualification in tourism studies has given her a very valuable overview of what the industry requires, particularly in her current occupation as a flight attendant.
“Because of my studies, I knew from the start of my career what it is that tourists want. This knowledge, together with continuous experience, has helped me understand how to satisfy my passengers’ needs.”
In terms of how she views tourism as a whole, Bianca notes,
“To me, tourism comprises any sense of travel, that lasts for longer than a day, outside of your usual surroundings or where you are generally based. It can mean travel for leisure, business, or any other motivation.
The tourism industry is great for anyone who loves to travel and get to know other cultures.”
Three Useful Insights
Bianca also shares some valuable insights on different aspects of the tourism industry, which you might be wondering about yourself.
What kind of person is perfect for the tourism industry?
“You need to be open-minded, and preferably not shy. Ideally, you should be someone who loves and appreciates travel yourself in order to understand the passion and the priorities of other travellers and your clients.”
What are the best and worst parts of working in the tourism industry?
“The best parts are definitely that you’ll never stop travelling and discovering new parts of the world, and that you’ll learn about many different cultures and lifestyles.
The worst part for me is the irregular working times, which goes for most areas in tourism. Sometimes it can also be challenging to deal with cultures very different to yours.”
Can working in tourism be a lucrative career?
“To be honest, what drives this career is passion and fun, rather than money. However, depending on your area of expertise and what you want to make out of your career, it can be a very lucrative job.”
Does Tourism Float Your Boat?
Bianca explains that a qualification in tourism studies can open doors to a vast variety of career fields within the tourism industry, since a qualification in tourism introduces students to many different aspects, including
Because the tourism industry has such a large variety of careers and job positions, there is something for everyone. Depending on your interests and skills, you could end up working in pretty much any department – from finance and accounting to tour guiding.
Tourism & Distance Learning
When you choose to study any course via distance learning, you need to have a decent amount of self-discipline and motivation, because any sense of structure depends entirely on you. If you’ve got this down, the sky’s the limit – Bianca knows, since that’s pretty much where she’s been roaming around for the past two years.
Bianca’s online study experience was positive, because she used all the resources available to her.
“I received the same material as the tourism students that were enrolled full-time and physically attended classes. If ever I had a question, I could get in touch with the lecturers via email, or go to the campus and meet them in person.”
Damelin Correspondence is a registered TVET college with the Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa. The courses at Damelin Correspondence are accredited by Umalusi.
Together with the institution’s vision of “offering high quality programmes that are recognised in the business world and provide learning with opportunities to advance their careers,” its courses are a popular choice for online learning.
As part of the Vocational School department, this distance learning institution offers various qualifications in Tourism:
- DCC Managing Tourism in South Africa Short Course Certificate
- DCC Marketing Tourism in South Africa Short Course Certificate
Find out more by taking a look at the full Tourism Studies brochure.
If this sounds like your thing, don’t wait around and let the ship sail without you. There are so many incredible opportunities in the tourism industry. If it’s what you want, why not go for it and cross the distance?
Since distance learning gives you a lot of flexibility, try to find a part-time (or even full-time) job in the tourism industry while you complete your qualification. That way you already gain valuable work experience and exposure to tourism life. By the time you complete your qualification you may already know exactly which area you want to pursue!