Every career begins with passion. This is true of travel and tourism as well. The pages of newspapers, programs on the television, articles posted on blogs, and the thousands of updates on the social media are enough to tell us that travel is no longer limited to a few. However, not every person who travels is geared up to be an expert on tourism. Understanding the finer nuances of travel and tourism management needs the right sort academic background.

There are a lot of travel enthusiasts who I have met in these past few years and some of them have told me that there is lot beyond the popular tourism circuits. Exploring a country isn’t limited to known tourist spots any more. Take a look at India. Besides the millions of Indian tourists, we have had more than 2.5 lakh foreign tourists in 2018 which was a 68.8% increase over the previous year. Religion, mysticism, culture, history, and even medical reasons come together to give tourism the boost it needs. Tourism is no longer a fad that is limited to a few but is more like a giant wave that is poised to positively affect India’s economy. It isn’t just Varanasi, Agra, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Jaipur, Goa, Amritsar, Delhi, Mumbai, and a few other big cities that are on a tourist’s sight. There are hundreds of charming locations in our country that are brimming with notes from the past and subliminal rhythms that have the power to attract. What this upsurge needs is the arrival of travel and tourism experts.

Talking of experts, let me just say that for students who are just out of school, the academic alternatives to explore now have gone way beyond the conventional medical and engineering streams. For instance, we have BBA in Travel and Tourism or Hospitality Management where the curriculum is already mature enough to lead minds in the right direction. There are many reputed institutes like the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) that provide a specialised degree to help aspirants break into the hospitality sector with ease.

When I told a young aspirant about BBA, he looked at me in confusion and asked, ‘But I thought this course was only for management. And I am looking for a course to orient me with travel.’

I said, ‘BBA has options to specialize. The government has already increased the ambit of vocational choices for those interested in travel and tourism.’ I told him that such courses are focused on converting raw and untrained minds into specialists who can authoritatively guide the future of tourism in India. A BBA isn’t any more another run-of-the-mill qualification that courier agencies and confectionary and toiletries manufacturers are looking for. A specialization in travel and tourism, for instance, is now regarded by the tourism industry as the right qualification for a head start. These students are future-ready for the challenging assignments that are tourism specific. What matters in any educational qualification is the kind of undiluted focus that it comes with. These are courses that help a student fine-tune his passion for the travel industry, give him all the practical skills to deal with the constantly changing travel environment, and teaches him the ability to appreciate the art of listening. This is besides making him conversant with all relevant IT skills that the industry needs. There are then organisational skills relevant to the industry, and the ability to care for every little detail that is essential to an expert in this stream.

Tourism is an industry that needs a wide selection of talents and these range from understanding the nuances of holiday planning, managing logistics for small and large groups, working for airlines, bringing in intuitive brilliance in travel consulting, becoming an expert travel guide, managing transport issues, and even coordinating all that has been already mentioned. Job opportunities can range from managing events to servicing clients, from marketing to being an education manager, and then there are myriad indoor and outdoor activities where such experts are needed.

Obviously then, a BBA in travel and tourism isn’t handicapped by limitations but brings in an entirely new universe of opportunities that aren’t saturated as yet.

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There is more to a BBA in travel and tourism than you know
There is more to a BBA in travel and tourism than you know

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Arvind Passey
22 February 2019