Study Tourism at The Graduate Institute of South Africa

Tourism is one of South Africa’s fastest growing industries. Tourism is the highest foreign currency earning sector on the African continent.

In the African context, countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Mauritius rely heavily on tourism. These countries have worked hard to develop tourism, and it is now an important part of their economies. Most developing countries are attempting to develop tourism as a means of economic growth. You may have noticed that our Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, is also emphasizing tourism and infrastructure development.


Tourism As A Career in South Africa

There are numerous opportunities available in the tourism industry today. Government tourism includes becoming a representative for any state or country to promote the destination, which can be done from an office or from home. Airport representatives, marketing or sales heads, and other similar jobs are available in the airline industry. Tourism careers include cruise lines, tour operators, visa agencies, hotel representatives, agrotourism, corporate tourism, and event management.

Our goal in writing this article is to provide you with information about the opportunities available in the tourism industry and how to build a career in this field at The Graduate Institute of South Africa (The GISA). You can be successful in this industry if you are passionate about travel and have a caring attitude. When you first start in this industry as a fresh graduate or IATA holder, you usually start as a counter sales executive or FIT (Free Individual Traveler). You could also begin your career as a junior air salesperson or visa consultant. As is customary in any industry, one must begin at the bottom of the ladder, learn the functions one by one, and gradually work their way up.

  • To be successful in counter sales or field sales, which are primarily required for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions), one must be passionate about selling, travel, product knowledge, good communication skills, and persuasive power. You can learn all of this on the job and grow as a person. Salary starts out low, but with knowledge, people can earn a handsome sum with full benefits. You will have a better chance of success if you are good at geography. Acquiring sufficient knowledge and working in sales may enable you to start your own travel agency.
  • Many students can begin their careers as visa executives. Understanding the requirements of various consulates, rules and regulations, and different types of visas such as student visas, business visas, work visas, tourist visas, diplomatic visas, and so on is essential. Proficiency in all of these areas can also help you start your own consulting visa firm. Because no one can travel abroad without a visa, knowledge of visa documentation is essential for a travel career.
  • Product design is another exciting and creative job in tourism. You must create custom tour packages for your clients as a product designer. It’s an interesting job to look for new destinations, keep track of changing traveler needs, and deliver the best product for groups or individuals. It may appear simple, but it is not, as it requires extensive product knowledge, geographical knowledge, visa formalities, and nearly all aspects of the travel line.
  • Another well-paying job in the tourism industry is commercial and contracting. Good negotiation skills, product knowledge, knowledge of places, itineraries, hotels, and transporters are just a few of the factors that can help you succeed in this career. To create the best package for travelers, one must negotiate rates with suppliers, hoteliers, cruise vendors, tourism boards, transportation companies, and so on. Because this is a specialized job, there is a high demand for these individuals.
  • Another career path in the tourism industry is that of an operations executive. When the sale is completed and the packages are ready, the travel company requires someone to execute and ensure that everything promised to customers is delivered, and the operation executive ensures that all hotels, transportation, and allied services are properly booked and re-confirmed. Many people enjoy working as a tour escort or tour manager. This is the only job in the world that will allow you to travel the world without spending a dime. Communication skills, a pleasant personality, a caring attitude, and strong disaster management abilities are required for this position. I believe this is a very rewarding job because you will be blessed and rewarded by others for taking such good care of them.

All of these are important functional jobs in the tourism industry. Individual growth in the tourism industry is rapid. You can advance from executive to senior executive, assistant manager to manager, department head to regional head, and finally country head. Today’s travel industry salary packages range from an average of R215,765 per year, with higher-level positions earning even more.

With a number of years of experience, you can start your own business, specialize tours, or work for a travel agency. Agrotourism, adventure tourism, and corporate tourism all offer numerous opportunities. Medical and wellness tourism is one of the most popular types of tourism, particularly among foreign visitors.  Today, the tourism industry is the fastest growing. Those who wish to pursue a career in the tourism industry, particularly freshmen, will undoubtedly climb the success ladder.

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