I work in a retail store in a popular destination in the Canadian province of Alberta. I have also worked at the front desk in a hotel, again in the same tourist destination. As a result of these two experiences I have realized several advantages of working in the tourist industry as opposed to working elsewhere but doing the same job (working in a retail store in a mall for example, or a hotel that primarily deals with businessmen).
People on holiday are generally in a good mood. They are thrilled to be away from home and on an adventure, even if it is only a day trip. They are excited to break free of the mundane and are looking at their trip (no matter where it is) as a welcome experience. When you work in the Tourism industry you are likely to encounter (mostly) pleasant people who are looking to you as a part of their holiday experience. I find I can joke with these people and nearly always have a positive result from them, as they clearly appreciate my good humor too.
You never know who you are going to meet or where they are from. Where I work most of the people are from a large city just over an hour away, many have cabins on the lake nearby, however we also get people from all over the world, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, and China, are just a few countries where tourists have visited from. Our store has a guest book for people to sign, and I often ask (when their English is good) how to say “Thank You” in their language. As a result I can say Thank You in several languages, including sign language for the deaf.
You just never know from one day to the next what your job will bring. This certainly links with the educational benefits just mentioned, but also you just never know what the day will bring when you are dealing with things in the tourist industry. Variety makes the day, week, month, year, go so much faster. While some people like their jobs to be routine, many people like some variety and the tourist industry often offers that in the form of conversations with people from all over the world.
photo by author – Emerald Lake, AB
You are the Star!
When you work in the tourist industry you must see yourself as a Celebrity of sorts. You might not be the reason they came, but you can make their trip more memorable (hopefully for the better). When I think of my last few vacations I certainly remember the destinations, but also the people who made it so fun.
Only a few of the people (I am not one) who work in the travel industry get discounts on traveling and promotional trips or items. This mostly applies to travel agents, some hotel staff, and a few other positions.
If you have a cheerful personality, good sense of humor, enjoy meeting people, and know your area, (including where your nearest public bathroom is) I suggest working in the tourism industry.
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