The Importance of Educated Travel Professionals

A letter from The Travel Institute’s president, Diane Petras, CTIE 

I recently read an article by Jeff Selingo, who wrote two best sellers about higher education. He believes learning is always “on,” and it’s what separates a professional from a novice and hones the skills needed for a job. He also says those skills churn at a rate faster than ever before. Never has this been more apparent. Current events underscore how critically important educated professionals are to both our industry and the traveling public.

This got me thinking about the new talent entering our industry. When you’re new, you need to learn so much just to keep pace with world events and build confidence needed to serve. And it’s not just supplier products, agency processes, or even sales skills. I’m talking about everything from basic industry knowledge to complex, quickly changing information, and then learning how to communicate with travelers. When you’re just starting out, you don’t know what a host agency is, nor do you understand preferred supplier relationships, the value of a consortium, or the meaning of GDS, FIT, CLIA, ASTA, and USTOA, and so many more abbreviations and acronyms.  None of it is familiar, yet all of it is important in building your foundation for success and preparing to support your agency, supplier, consortium, association, and your own career or business.

This is the primary reason The Travel Institute exists. We keep learning “on” throughout one’s career, starting with our introductory program, TRIPKITSM, educating more than 1700 students each year through independent study, colleges, and career schools. We’ve seen many of these students go on to build successful careers as frontline travel advisors by combining their new-found knowledge with their own creativity, unique niche markets, personalization skills, or technology expertise.  

If you’re an agency owner or supplier and work with TRIPKIT graduates, you are working with someone who passed their Travel Agent Proficiency, or TAP®, exam demonstrating they have made a commitment to their career in travel and already have a strong foundation of knowledge. Recognize their desire to become a professional and reward it by allowing them to grow and learn from you, and you will enable their success as much as your own. 

If you are new to the travel industry or in a position to guide new agent development, explore our curriculum or attend one of our free webinars to learn more. 

Supporting education creates the professionals we need in our dynamic industry and is critical to our collective success.

Stay safe,

Diane Petras, CTIE


The Travel Institute