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Comment: Get behind travel training initiatives

Things are really coming together on the skills and training side of the travel industry.

First, the Institute of Travel and Tourism has backed the Passport to the World initiative from the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership. Hundreds of thousands of travel students around the world will join the scheme and the ITT’s support will boost much-needed travel training.

Second, we will at last see 14 to 19 year olds receiving relevant training on how the industry works, with the Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

Third, major industry bodies such as ABTA, the ITT, the Tourism Society and People 1st are working more closely than ever. 

Meanwhile, the government is funding training schemes in the industry – it recently committed £112 million towards qualifications and training for travel, tourism and leisure sector employees through its Train to Gain initiative.

There’s lots of exciting training activity, but how seriously is our industry taking it? Read our feature on the new Travel and Tourism Diploma and you can see that training providers feel too many employers are simply not interested in educational initiatives.

Staff training is key to any business’s plan to expand. As the trading outlook gets tougher, businesses will require the very best staff to see them through.

TUI Travel’s move to local selling, for example, will put the emphasis on staff customer service skills. Sales will increase when agents in shops and call centres provide seamless service and take all opportunities to sell add-ons.

Service, product knowledge and selling skills are core for agents, which is exactly why Travel Weekly is throwing its weight behind skills and training.

This week we kick off a month of training articles which will be supported by additional content on the site – see travelweekly.co.uk/training. We will also be launching a blog to help give a voice to the training side of the travel industry – more on that soon.

Taking up the initiatives that are there to help you will ensure the success of your business and the industry as a whole. Get with the programme!

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