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Travel and Tourism


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Travel and tourism services and visitor attractions

Passenger transport

Travel and tourism services and visitor attractions

Travel services are about supporting the wider travel and tourism sector and include businesses such as travel agencies and tour operators. Tourism services are about supporting inbound and domestic tourism within the UK and include organisations such as tourist boards and tourist information offices, and businesses such as domestic tour operators. There are a wide variety of jobs in the travel and tourism services industry ranging from tour guides and travel agents to supervisory and managerial positions.

Visitor attractions are places such as theme parks, safari parks/zoos and heritage sites - which are destinations for tourists, as part of their holiday or leisure time. Visitors will be a mixture of UK residents and visitors to the UK.  

Examples of these jobs include:

Holiday resort representatives work to make sure that holidaymakers have a safe and enjoyable time at their chosen destination, usually overseas. Resort representatives may:

  • deal with a whole range of duties for their guest - right from transfer and welcome, to dealing with complaints and queries about accommodation and facilities, to overseeing departure check out
  • work in a specialist area such as looking after guests' children or a specific age group of guests such as 18 to 30 or the over 50s and organising events, activities and games for the group they are responsible for.

Theme park/fairground workers work in theme parks, fairs and visitor attractions. When working on rides they are responsible for operating and supervising rides, checking that customers meet height and age restrictions, helping people on and off the rides and carrying out safety checks. They may also manage side shows and stalls, sell theme park merchandise or light refreshments to the public, and deal with money and customer queries and complaints.

Tour managers work on escorted tours, usually on a coach or minibus although some tours may use a range of transport, both in the UK and abroad. They go with the group making sure that everything runs smoothly and provide information and a commentary about places of interest, history, local life and culture. Some tours are specialist ones covering for example music, art or history. Most tour managers working overseas use foreign languages in the course of their work.

Tourist guides mainly work with groups - taking them around places of interest, such as museums, historic buildings or gardens, giving a commentary and answering questions to help them get the most from their visit. Visitors could be British or overseas tourists and some guides specialise in one or more foreign languages.

Tourist information centre assistants work with visitors to their area or those planning visits, giving them information, making bookings such as accommodation for them, advising them about local attractions and facilities, selling tickets, giving directions and answering queries. This help may be given in person, on the telephone, by letter or by email. They also order and display a range of leaflets from local visitor attractions, accommodation, leisure facilities and hospitality providers and sell items such as guide books and souvenirs of the local area.

Travel agents sell holidays as well as all the extras such as car hire and transport upgrades.  They also give advice to customers to help them make decisions about the right destination and package or work out and agree a tailor made holiday to include travel arrangements and accommodation for them. Some work in holiday supermarkets and retail travel agents, others in call centres. An increasing number work from home taking calls and bookings and visiting customers at their homes. Some travel agents specialise in working with business customers organising tailor-made travel arrangements for them.

This section only includes a sample of jobs in travel services - other jobs include: travel consultant call centre operators, tour operator managers, tourism officers and resort managers.


Passenger transport

Millions of passengers are transported throughout the UK and overseas by air, by bus and coach, by road, by water and by rail every year. The majority of leisure or holiday-related travel takes place by air and by coach but increasingly people also use boats, including ferries, canal boats and cruise ships, and  trains - the Channel tunnel has enabled direct trains to Europe from the UK. Jobs are based in a wide range of locations, including airports, railway and bus stations and offices.

Jobs include:

Air Cabin Crew are responsible for making sure that their airline's passengers have a pleasant, safe and comfortable journey. They are trained to deal with the safety and security of passengers during a flight. They also prepare the aircraft for flight and deal with passenger needs, including serving food and drink and providing assistance with boarding and disembarking. Air cabin crew need to deal with any problems that passengers have during the flight, for example if they fall ill or if there is an emergency.  

Coach Drivers drive safely and legally - working on regular routes, or driving coaches on longer trips away from home on trips and holidays. They may even be required to drive overseas. Coach drivers load and unload large luggage, take fares or check off names on a passenger list and give advice and information and, in some cases, a commentary to passengers. Coach drivers also have to cope with emergencies, such as breakdowns, accidents, illness or aggression.

Passenger check in officers, also known as passenger service agents or handling agents, are responsible for booking in airline passengers and their luggage. They greet passengers, check passengers' bookings and passports/identification, allocate seats, weigh luggage (charging for excess), print out labels and attach to luggage, ask security questions, issue boarding cards and direct passengers to the security and boarding gate.

Train Crew - may also be called railway train conductors, train managers, train guards or ticket inspectors - work on passenger trains, making sure that travellers are safe and comfortable. They also provide other services such as hosting first-class passengers (serving food and drinks to their tables for example), selling food and drink, checking and selling tickets, making announcements to give information, dealing with any problems on the train and answering passenger queries. They also take responsibility for opening doors once the train has safely arrived in a station and for closing them so that the train can depart on time.

This section only includes a sample of jobs in passenger transport other jobs include: air traffic controller, airline pilot, passenger carrying vehicle driver trainer, passenger services superviser, port operative, railway station assistant, railway train conductor, taxi driver, tram driver and waterways operatives.


Want to know more?

The information in this jobs section is a summary of what's involved in each of the jobs and only a few jobs are highlighted to give a snapshot of this sector.

You can also use the Next Step website to find out about 100s of jobs and careers, including the ones listed above and many, many more.