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Industry Briefs
Travel Careers on the Rebound

Travel related careers are opening up throughout the tourism industry. International travel is increasing and President Obama signed the recent Travel Promotional Bill. Tour operators report their European market is up 30 to 90% over last year. The opportunities include careers for almost every background, skill, interest and age from youth to retirees.

According to the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization), international tourism saw an increase the last quarter of 2009. Past recessions have shown tourism to be one of the first industries to rebound. The increase may be attributed to the same reasons retail and luxury items have experienced recent increases. Americans may be tired of not spending and tour operators, cruise lines and hotels are offering discounts on their tour packages.

In March the Congress and President Obama passed the first Travel Promotional Bill to help promote US tourism around the World. Individual states and cities have promoted tourism but the US has never been promoted as a country. The bill is expected to have a big influence on the number of US visitors and on the number of people employed throughout the tourism and the hospitality industries.

According to Cherie Anderson, owner of Professional Tour Management Training and author of the "Tour Director Training Guide" (, "In the US most people are unaware of the importance, size and employment opportunities in tourism. Tourism is huge and is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the US and the world."

"Most colleges only cover courses for travel agents and maybe the hospitality industry, like working in hotels. Travel agents are important but just a small percentage of the careers available. I started traveling as a tour director leading groups on tours and cruises in the 1980s and it's a wonderful career. Tourism offers opportunities for almost every interest including sales, marketing, administration, accounting, product managers, account executives, event coordinators, guides, IT professionals, customer service and tour directors. Many of the careers are very lucrative, challenging and fun. The opportunities are endless," says Anderson.

Anderson explains, "It's great for young people and the retirees.  Many go into tour directing and guiding after their kids are raised.  I've also trained those interested in other careers in tourism including starting their own tour operation. Most entering tourism need to know how our industry works, the types of employers and their needs. There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on how our industry works. The increase in tourism means even more opportunities for my students, so I'm very happy with the good news."

The increase in international tourism and the new Travel Promotional Bill are expected to lead to continued growth and opportunities.  Major tour operators including Globus, Tauck, and Trafalgar have all reported an increase in international travel. Job opportunities are also picking up in the local and domestic markets.

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