Industry Certifications for Success in Tourism
In the ever-changing field of tourism, becoming familiar with industry associations and obtaining various industry certifications in addition to your educational credential is a major key to success. That’s because employers in areas of the occupation such as sales and marketing, inbound tour operations, tour companies, car rental companies, rail companies, tourist boards, groups and incentives want to ensure you understand the various facets that will allow you to be the essential link between clients and their travel experiences. Here are a few of the associations and certifications you should be familiar with if your career plan involves travel services management.
The Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA): For more than 40 years now, non-profit, member-based organization ACTA (formerly the Canadian Institute of Canadian Travel Counsellors) has provided effective leadership in matters that impact retail travel industry members and their clients. How does it do that? ACTA acts as an advocate, on behalf of its members, with governments, regulatory agencies and travel suppliers in the best interests of the retail travel sector and consumers who benefit from the professional services provided by the 12,000 travel agents in its member agencies. One particularly important role ACTA plays is elevating industry standards and professionalism through certification, accreditation and other learning opportunities such as endorsing post-secondary programs that give students of those offrings the option to write the ACTA certification.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): As the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, since 1975 the CLIA has supported policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment, and it’s dedicated to promoting the cruise travel experience. By the numbers, CLIA represents more than 50 cruise lines, has more than 340 executive partner members, and 15 global travel agency and 25,000 travel agent members. Annually, it serves more than 24 million passengers. Its certification programs are meant to elevate your personal and professional brand and, its site reports, are an important consideration for vacationers when selecting a travel agent.
Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO): When the Ontario and travel industry wanted to enhance professionalism, increase consumer protection and provide an effective and efficient regulatory body, it created TICO as a delegated administrative authority under the Safety and Consumer Statuses Administration Act. Since that time in 1997, TICO has become responsible for administering the Ontario Travel Industry Act, 2002, and Ontario Regulation 26/05 on behalf of the Ontario government — legislation that governs all of the approximately 2,400 travel retailers and travel wholesalers registered in Ontario. In this role, the self-managed, not-for-profit corporation has established standards and regulatory mechanisms in areas that include consumer protection, education and awareness; registration, inspection, supervision and discipline of registrants; and investigating and facilitating disputes between consumers and registrants. TICO has set up various programs to support these objectives. One of the areas in which TICO is active is education. As a result, “every person who is working for a registered Ontario retail travel agency and is selling travel services or providing travel advice to the public must, by law, meet the TICO's Education Standards,” says its site.
At Centennial College’s Travel – Tourism Services Management program, which is accredited by the ACTA, you may obtain the education needed to acquire ACTA’s certification, while TICO and CLIA’s certifications are built right into the program. Centennial College’s wide network will allow you various opportunities in addition to these credentials such as: training on industry-standard computerized reservation systems (Apollo and Sabre), volunteer opportunities at major tourism and travel industry trade shows and events, and an option to partake in an international field trip for additional experiential learning.
By Izabela Szydlo