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Holiday maker

education Updated: Nov 16, 2011 12:41 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Tour operators organise and arrange package holidays, which are either sold through travel agencies or marketed direct to the public. An operator’s duties will include making travel arrangements and organising accommodation, sightseeing trips, etc. The Indian travel industry is leading the worldwide growth and travel agents are faced with travellers who want the best deal, and the latest information at their fingertips. To cater to this increasing demand, tour operators need to have the right experience, knowledge and dedication to act as a professional tour planners to create memorable holidays for their customers. Therefore, everything from the right sales attitude to profound knowledge of back-end processes is a must for aspirants who want to make a career in tour operations

Clockwork
The average workday of a tour operator in a small company:
9am: Reach office and reply to e-mails about reservations
10am: Call various camps and draw out an occupancy report
12.30pm: Check social networking websites for any queries about treks and tours
1pm: Lunch break
2pm: Meet corporate clients
5pm: Call up camps to do a general check
7pm: Meet tourism ministry officials for permission to set up camp in his state
9pm: Off on a trip to one of the camps

The payoff
In a large travel company:
Counter clerk: Rs13000 to Rs17000 per month
Assistant: Rs18000 to Rs20000 per month
Junior executive: Rs24000 to Rs31000 per month
Regional manager: Rs35000 to Rs50000 per month

In a smaller outfit:
Trainee tour operator: Rs5000 to Rs10000 per month
Tour operator: Rs15000 to Rs25000 per month
Travel marketing executive: Rs18000 to Rs35000 per month
All figures are indicative and may vary according to skills and experience

Skills/TRAITS
* Pleasing, amiable personality
* Able to intuit what clients want and support them
* Able to troubleshoot with ease
* High level of patience
* Presence of mind when stressed or facing danger
* Strong communication skills
* Flair for languages

Getting there
After completing Class 12, one can join a travel and tourism course (typically a year long) or even go in for a bachelor’s in the subject. There are master’s programmes available as well. Mountaineering courses can help you in the adventure tourism sector. Career opportunities in travel and tourism exist both in the public and private sector.

Institutes and URLs
* Nehru Institute of Mountaineering
www.nimindia.org
* Kuoni Academy
www.kuoniacademy.co.in
* Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management
www.iittm.org
* International Air Transport Association
www.iata.org
* Indira Gandhi National Open University,
www.ignou.ac.in
* Trade Wings Institute of Management
www.tradewinginstitute.com

Pros and cons
* You get to travel a lot
* You can start your own venture
* You get exposed to different cultures and meet interesting people
* Hectic schedules might leave you with less time for family
* Sometimes, a tour might not be planned properly and you could face the wrath of your clients