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Forging a career in sustainable tourism

We get many requests every year from students and travel personnel wanting to know how to get started on a career in sustainable tourism. It’s a difficult one because unlike other professions, there is no set route to getting there.

If you look at our current team, we are from many different disciplines and backgrounds, some with relevant qualifications, others not, but with great practical, hands-on experience.

We thought we’d ask the team for their top tips and this is what they said: –

Wendy Moore, Head of ProgrammesWendy Moore

“Volunteering can be a good way to open the door but make sure you offer them something of value rather than just a ‘hey, I’d love to work for you if you’ve got anything that needs doing’ because most organisations don’t have time to think about or manage volunteers unless there’s an obvious benefit. That’s what I did. The Travel Foundation took me on and I’m still here 15 years later.”

 

Thomas Armitt, Programmes Officer

“I knew I wanted to work in the field of Sustainable Tourism as soon as I left Uni. Initially, I read up on the topic and learned about what other successful organisations were doing. I then worked as an intern for a well-known leader in responsible tourism advocacy and marketing. A few years later, after getting experience in other disciplines, I decided to do an MSc in responsible tourism management whilst using the knowledge I was gaining in a practical way. This spurred me to take on a few hands-on tourism development projects in Sierra Leone. After this amazing experience I wanted to share my passion and learning experiences with all those who would listen. This opened a few doors for work and ultimately led to me working for the Travel Foundation. My advice is to never give up! If you want to work in Sustainable Tourism, take every opportunity and be patient. You’ll get there in the end.”

 

Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable PracticeJulie Middleton

“Network, network, network – 85% of all jobs come through networking. Demonstrate your knowledge, enthusiasm and passion. If people like you and gel with you, they will want to help you and will recommend you.”

 

 

Carolina Fernandez, Programmes Officer

“My knowledge and experience in environmental sustainability and my experiences around the world working with NGOs in the field in environmental projects have been really helpful.”

 

 

Terry Brown, Programmes ManagerTerry Brown

“In addition to getting relevant qualifications, one of the most important things is to get experience of working in a) the tourism sector and b) overseas sustainable development projects.”

 

 

Jasmine Stevens Wong, Sustainable PractitionerJasmine Stevens Wong

“Focus on what you love doing most and work out how that can add value to the field of sustainable tourism. My passion is for developing people and that’s why I really wanted to work in the capacity building/training area of sustainable tourism. It’s important to get some experience whether you volunteer or get paid work. Pick up the phone, network and find out from others working in the field what it’s like and where the opportunities are!”

 

 

 Graeme Jackson, Head of Partnerships and FundraisingGraeme Jackson

“Pursue a related speciality, rather than focusing on sustainable tourism; roles are few and far between. I worked for 10 years in public relations agencies where I got to encounter a wide range of clients across many sectors, including many in environmental/sustainability fields. This gave me the opportunity to see new perspectives, build my knowledge and expertise, and ‘try out’ different career options. Although I had little tourism experience, I think my transferable skills and ‘fresh eyes’ were the key attributes that helped land me the job.”

 

Katie James, Programmes Officer

“Look at the jobs you want to get and work backwards from there in terms of what qualifications and experience you need. Also, I think speaking other languages has been a helpful bonus for getting jobs with an international focus and which involve working in other countries.”