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Travel Counsellor

Travel counsellors represent travel suppliers. They advertise, promote and sell a wide variety of travel services to the public.

  • Avg. Salary $40,054.00
  • Avg. Wage $22.22
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
Also Known As

Salesperson, Travel Agent, Travel Consultant

NOC & Interest Codes
The Travel Counsellor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Travel Counsellors
NOC code: 6431
SOCIAL

Interest in persuading clients by promoting particular destinations, tour packages and other travel services, and by selling single-fare tickets and package tours

METHODICAL

Interest in operating computerized reservation and ticketing systems to make bookings and reservations; and in providing travel details to clients regarding destinations, transportation and accommodation options and costs, and recommending suitable products

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling information to investigate new travel destinations, hotels and other facilities and attractions

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In general, travel counsellors:

  • describe and sell travel destinations, products and services to clients
  • access information about costs, routes and schedules from computerized reservation systems and the Internet
  • make reservations using telephone, fax, computerized systems and the Internet
  • issue required documentation such as electronic tickets, travel insurance policies and itineraries
  • notify customers about changes in travel plans and required documentation
  • calculate and prepare invoices, accept payment from customers and pay suppliers.

When routes or schedules change or other factors create the need to alter customer travel plans, travel counsellors must be able to make the necessary adjustments quickly.

Travel agencies may earn commissions by selling the services of suppliers such as:

  • transportation companies (for example, airlines, motor coach companies, railway passenger services, cruise lines, car rental companies)
  • accommodation facilities (for example, hotels and resorts)
  • cruise lines
  • travel wholesale and tour companies offering package holidays
  • other travel services (for example, travel insurance).
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most travel counsellors work in travel agencies located in towns or cities, although a growing number work from their homes. The majority of a travel counsellor's work day is spent consulting with clients and completing paperwork. They often are subject to time pressures and must work overtime during peak travel periods, when travel plans change or when world events or natural disasters occur.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Travel counsellors are sales representatives who are responsible for encouraging customers to return and use the services of their agency again. Therefore, they must be able to:

  • deal with all types of people patiently and pleasantly
  • serve customers quickly and efficiently
  • handle stressful situations calmly and effectively.

They should enjoy working with people and promoting travel products, performing detailed work and taking a methodical approach to compiling information, and operating computerized systems.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Travel counsellors need:

  • attention to detail
  • well developed sales skills
  • mathematical skills
  • a good memory
  • typing and computer skills
  • excellent organization skills
  • knowledge of worldwide geography.

Travel counsellors should have at least a high school diploma. Travel agencies generally prefer to hire people who have:

  • completed travel related courses or programs at the post-secondary level
  • sales experience
  • travel experience
  • fluency in a second language
  • office experience.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

Grant MacEwan University

Red River College - Winnipeg

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Thompson Rivers University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Prospective students are strongly advised to discuss their career and education plans with people employed in the travel industry before enrolling in an education program.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Voluntary certification is available through the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA). The designations offered include Certified Travel Counsellor (CTC) and Certified Travel Manager (CTM). Applicants for Travel Counsellor certification must: 

  • enroll for certification by completing an enrollment form
  • pass a knowledge exam (some schools offer this test to students upon completion of their education program)
  • have at least 1,800 hours of relevant, recent experience (up to one year prior to enrollment)
  • complete and pass performance evaluation, a test of skills on the job completed by their employer or an assessor.

To sell travel insurance, travel counsellors must complete insurance company training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Travel counsellors are employed by:

  • retail travel agencies
  • wholesale tour companies
  • transportation and tourism companies
  • travel insurance companies
  • hotel chains
  • government tourist boards.

The qualifications required for employment vary considerably from one employer to another. Inexperienced workers may start in clerical positions and take night courses or in-service training while they are gaining experience. Although travel industry certification is not compulsory, some employers prefer to hire people who are certified.

Advancement depends on the travel counsellor's sales ability and initiative, and the size of the company. Some experienced travel counsellors open their own travel agencies.

In Alberta, 92% of people employed as travel counsellors work in the Business, Building and Other Support Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Management, Administrative and Other Support Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,600 Albertans are employed in the Travel counsellors occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 38 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Salaries, working conditions and travel benefits vary greatly from one employer to another. Many travel agencies have incentive plans where wages are based on sales productivity.

Depending on their agency's sales performance, travel counsellors may qualify for reduced rates for air, cruise and hotel arrangements. Educational tours are offered to travel agencies by suppliers, and counsellors usually attend one tour a year.

Travel counsellors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6521: Travel councillors. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Travel counsellors occupational group earned on average from $12.98 to $35.79 an hour. The overall average wage was $22.22 an hour. For more information, see the Travel counsellors wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Tourism
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Aboriginal Tourism website: www.albertaaboriginaltourism.com

Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association website: www.ahla.ca

Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) website: www.acta.ca

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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