The findings, which were drawn from the responses of around 90 members of TTG’s 30 Under 30 initiative, were revealed during WTM London as part of the TTG Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders Conference.
It was the first time the forum, designed to advise the next generation of senior travel professionals, was held at the trade show.
Presenting the research, Daniel Pearce, managing director of TTG Media, and group editor Pippa Jacks revealed 70% of respondents – whose experience working in travel ranged from 1 to 13 years – would consider launching their own travel business. It was also revealed that, in spite of the perceived lower pay in travel, 100% of respondents would encourage a young person beginning their working life to join the sector.
Delegates also heard from senior industry leaders, who explored their own travel careers. Jennifer Atkinson, chief executive of ITC Travel Group, urged up-and-coming travel professionals to “have the courage to do it [take on responsibility]” recalling how she took the helm at ITC aged 34.
“When I first took the job I don’t believe I was any better than anybody else, I just happened to have an opportunity and seized it… now we are a £100 million business… I was brave enough to put my head above the parapet.”
Brian Young, G Adventures’ managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa, told entrepreneurs to “take time to reflect on the down side”, recounting the failure of On Holiday Group in 2014, which he co-founded.
“I didn’t realise just how much it would affect me personally,” he said, admitting his next immediate project subsequently “wasn’t fun for me at the time”.
Young advised delegates to choose carefully their next project after such a setback.
Meanwhile, Jeannette Linfoot, managing director, Saga Tour Operating, urged delegates to be “tenacious”, explaining how she originally failed to secure a place on Thomson’s graduate scheme.
“Travel’s not for the faint-hearted and it’s definitely not a 9-5 job,” she said. “People think it’s a party but it’s not – you have to work hard, but my god you will love it.”