Speaking at the TTG Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders conference at WTM London, John Bevan said despite an “encouraging” recent rise in the number of courses for travel and tourism and related subjects at schools, colleges and universities “there will always be more we can do”.
“It is so good to see more courses now that are linked to travel; if you think back 10 years there was next to nothing,” he said. “There’s more we should be doing to encourage young people to get into the sector and see it as a proper industry and a trade you can get the right training for.”
His comments came as a TTG survey revealed only 40% of young travel professionals questioned had a vocational travel-based qualification.
The study of around 120 people working in the travel industry for between one and 13 years also found only 50% of respondents had set out to work in travel.
Meanwhile, 70% of those surveyed believed salaries in the sector “do not compare well” to other industries, but more than 85% said once they had joined they wanted to stay in travel for their whole career.
During the conference, Bevan discussed his own career and passed on key learnings from his time in the industry – after starting out as a sales rep for a French-based hotelier before taking senior positions at a number of online travel businesses, including lastminute.com.
He highlighted the importance of training for both employers and employees looking to progress.
And Bevan added he was “really proud” that across its brands, such as Gold Medal and Travel 2, dnata took more than 300 travel professionals away on fams each year, helping agents sell destinations better.
“Training is a really big thing. When you get to our size – 1,600 employees in the UK –it becomes a big cost, but it’s a great investment. People are more efficient and stay for longer.”