Andy Harmer, director of business development, PSARA
What was your first job?
A lecturer at Gateshead College, where I taught economics and business.
What was your first job in travel?
Sales consultant at TV Travel Shop in Bromley, Kent, then training and development manager. I moved back to sales to take charge of the homeworking division, then became head of sales.
How did you climb the career ladder?
The great thing about TV Travel Shop was that it encouraged people to work towards promotion and rewarded people by developing them.
What does it take to be good at your job?
The ability to understand what would help agents the most, and having worked in retail, I think I have a good idea. We also need to be creative here, making the resources and training courses as interesting and innovative as possible, while still making them useful and relevant.
What are the big challenges in your job?
Getting to know all of the cruiselines, cruise ships, itineraries and destinations – as well as the cruise industry developments and innovations. Since we are partners with most cruiselines, there is a lot of product to learn about.
1994-1999: working overseas
1999-2003: sales consultant, training and development manager, sales manager and head of sales, TV Travel Shop
2003-2006: UK and Ireland sales and marketing manager, Kenya Tourist Board
2006-present: PSARA director of business development
What’s the best part of your job?
I still get a great feeling after a training course where I can see that people are more excited about cruising, more interested in learning more, and better equipped to sell more.
And the worst part?
Seeing so many fantastic ships in port, but not sailing on them.
Best training course attended
I don’t suppose I can say one of ours?
What’s the best piece of career advice you have received?
To always be positive.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Still at PSARA – taking it from strength to strength. Or on a Caribbean cruise.
If you weren’t working in travel, what job would you be doing?
It would still have to be in a training-related job. It is so important that people are given the opportunity to learn and progress.
On the Web: Psa-psara.org