Sunday, 16 June, marked the Day of the African Child. In honour of this momentous day in history, Amadeus would like to share some tips from veterans in the travel industry for African youth who are passionate about travel and would like to break into this exciting industry.
The different careers in the travel industry allow youngsters to use their creative minds, talents, and eagerness to learn. There are many paths one could take, for example, one can consider being a flight attendant, a tour operator, apply for a job on a cruise company, or explore corporate event planning for travel management companies. The possibilities are endless…
We chatted to some well-known, highly experienced travel experts in Africa for their thoughts and advice on the ‘’the need to knows’’ before beginning a career in the industry.
1. Love to read and research
When starting out in the industry, it is important to have a flair and love for reading and research. Today, the world depends on information, and travel consultants need to constantly be kept ‘’in the loop’’ as it were.
2. Be tech-savvy.
The advantage of being tech-savvy in this fast-moving industry is that businesses are now trading and offering their services on various online platforms. These businesses are on the lookout for young individuals who are able to use technology.
Managing Director Patrick Maina Kamanga from Deans Travel Centre, Kenya, urges youngsters to invest more time and focus on technological resources and innovations, which will give them an upper hand in the travel industry.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of networking
The world of travel is full of vibrant young people. So, take every opportunity to network with them. Travel is all about connecting people as well as connecting ourselves with others in our own environments. CEO of Rock Springs Travels & Tours, Bukola Aliu from Nigeria strongly reminds young people that ‘’no man is an island’’. She encourages young people who would like to own their own business one day not to insist on doing things alone. This mentality will not create any room for improvement nor stimulate growth in general.
She says: “I would encourage youngsters to be out there, to reach out and to be more involved on various social networks so that they can become well-informed daily on travel news, how and why businesses in the travel industry thrive and sometimes fail. This will definitely put things into perspective and give young individuals a chance to explore their interests further.”
4. Have great people skills
“Leaders of tomorrow will need people skills to succeed,” says Sure Travel’s Rachael Penaluna
“We all know travel has changed the most in the last 10 years. Not only systems and accessibility but travellers too have changed,” says Sure Travel’s Rachael Penaluna. She explains Generation Y travellers are constantly connected and on the lookout for something better, cheaper, faster, instantly. “Young travel consultants have a distinct advantage, because they understand their own generation and what appeals to them.”
Having said that, Rachael is quick to add that older travel consultants bring dedication, responsibility, passion and a hands-on approach – old school tactics that will always apply and traits that the online realm does not have. She says: “I believe the secret is to merge the two.”
According to Rachael, the significance of person-to-person and experiential learning is extremely important for younger consultants, it is something they can benefit from and utilise as a valuable skill in dealing with their peers when consulting. They need to know how to apply knowledge and people skills to ensure that the travel industry remains a personal touch industry!
5. Have the right attitude
A career in travel may look glamorous and easy, but it’s so important to remind young people that like any other industry or place of work, a path an individual chooses to take in travel requires hard work, dedication, diligence, and a happy and positive spirit.