What’s the job climate in travel right now? What can we expect? How
should we feel about our own careers? West Los Angeles College
undertook a survey to better attune its travel curriculum to
current industry needs. About 50 questionnaires were sent out in
early June to executives across the travel industry. The responses
we received from 70 percent of those questioned have yielded some
One clear finding: Across the board, respondents expressed
guarded optimism about the industry and hope for the near
Twenty-five percent said employment opportunities in their
industry sector were excellent or good, with 56 percent rating the
situation as so-so. However, 79 percent believe the job situation
will be better in two years. None thought it would be worse. The
results may signal that we’ve turned the corner: Layoffs are
winding down, stability is taking hold and modest growth barring
some unforeseen event will again become the norm.
Which sectors will have the rosiest future? Cruising, lodging
and convention/meeting planning were most cited, with a clear,
strong belief that travel agencies will bounce back in the next few
years, especially if they do some or all of their selling online.
Conversely, almost all those surveyed saw a bleak future for
airline employees, except at growth companies like JetBlue, ATA and
Southwest. There was concern for tour operators, too.
What training should travel professionals pursue? The clear
winner, by a substantial margin: sales and service, with geographic
knowledge a distant second. Air ticketing skills were ranked very
low not surprising in light of the airline situation.
Also, we may be underestimating one phenomenon. Many travel
professionals will soon be retiring. Let’s face it: Our business is
“graying” and substantial influx of fresh talent will be
Marc Mancini, author of Geo Intelligence, teaches at West Los