The job title “tourism manager” can cover a wide range of different positions. Some tourism managers may be involved in helping travelers book their trips and plan their tours, while others may actually be leading tours themselves. A tourism manager may have formal education in the field of tourism or travel management, or may be trained by experience and self-guided learning. A truly great tourism manager can be a gold mine of information about a culture or region, and be able to provide nearly any type of recommendation or service assistance a client could possibly need.
Some tourism managers plan for their career by attending universities or trade schools that have programs in travel and tourism. These educational courses can sometimes lead to a four-year degree, such as a bachelor's degree, or may result in certification from the institutions. To become a tourism manager, it may be necessary to obtain a license, but this requirement varies by region. Some regions may also require travel professionals to join a regional registry, or to pay certain taxes if they own and operate their own businesses.
In order to become a tourism manager, it is important to have certain skills as well as education. Communication, customer service, and organization are three of the most important skills in the tourism industry. It is important to be able to keep complicated itineraries straight, so that a client is not stuck waiting for three hours for a rental car, or left without a hotel room for a night due to a change of venue. Since tourists often run into difficulties while exploring new locations, it is important for tourism managers to be able to handle complaints without getting angry or frustrated, and be able to offer customers good solutions to any issues that come up.
Finding an entry-level job at a resort, tour agency, or travel agency is a good way to become a tourism manager. While these jobs may begin with fairly menial tasks, it is a good opportunity to learn about how tours are packaged, how to help wishy-washy clients make decisions, and how to deal with complaints. One good way to rise in position is by showing excellent customer service skills; a person that can calm irate tourists will quickly become more valuable than gold to employers.
For those who want to become a tourism manager in order to lead tours, consider becoming a docent for a local cultural site, or taking a summer job in another country. Tour leaders have extensive knowledge of the locations they visit, and often spend a lot of time researching the history and culture of a tour location. Finding opportunities to incorporate research and travel into job experience can help a person become a tourism manager without draining their savings.
Another way to find become a tourism manager is look for customer service jobs in large resorts. Some resorts will employ tourism managers to serve as in-house managers for all tourist activities. Resort tourist managers may be in charge of designing program for the resort that add to the guests' enjoyment, such as daycare programs, guided stargazing, evening performances, and cultural tours led by hotel-employed guides. To become a tourism manager at a resort, it is important to have a history of customer service experience, useful local knowledge, and creative ideas on how to draw more business.