Panel: Global Careers in Travel and Tourism
April 20, 2016
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The following post was written by sophomore, and Tisch Center social media assistant, Camille Aké. Camille will graduate in May 2018 with a B.S. in Hotel and Tourism Management, and a minor in Food Studies

On Thursday March 3rd, the NYU Wasserman Center at SPS and the NYUSPS Hospitality and Tourism Society (HTS) hosted a panel in the 5th Floor Lounge titled, “Global Careers in Travel and Tourism.” This panel, open to all hospitality students and faculty, featured 5 panelists discussing their careers and the trends of global tourism career paths.

Right in the middle of the panel table was the associate dean of the Tisch Center, Dr. Kristin Lamoureux. She would be speaking on behalf of her expert experience in travel and tourism’s impacts on different countries and cultures.

At the end of one side of the table was Kylie Robertson. Originally from Australia, Kylie has worked 24-years in the Americas working on tourism marketing for different clients ranging from hotels, tourism boards, and entertainment companies. Next to Kylie was Gilad Goren, the founder of the travel and tech platform, Raleigh & Drake. Raleigh & Drake seeks to help share and sell travel through self-made travel guides. Additionally, Gilad is the founder of Travel+SocialGood, the first global community that hopes to make the travel industry realize it’s potential for positive global impact. The next panelist was Joe Diaz, the creator AFAR, one of the world’s leading travel media magazines. Joe and AFAR are all about experiential travel, and as Joe would put it, “[Experiential travel] is the best form of education and the more people who travel in a curious and open-minded way, the better our world will be.” The final panelist was Andrea Papitto, an NYU graduate. She studied abroad at NYU’s Global Academic Center in Accra, Ghana, and has forever been focused on development projects for the African continent. She worked for the Africa Travel Association (ATA), and now she is currently the Assistant Director for African Trade and Tourism at the NYU Africa House.

This Q&A, moderated by the president of HTS, was at times individual, but other times collaborative. There were times when you could notice shared experiences between the panelists despite all five of them having careers in completely different facets of the travel industry.

-Below are the highlights from the Q&A Session-

Q) What are some career paths to consider in this [travel & tourism] industry?
A) The Dean answered first and advised the panel attendees that if they don’t want to be a tour guide or tour operator, they could trying looking into DMOs, or Destination Marketing Organizations. Every city has at least one (Washington D.C. has 23!). It’s not hard to find these kinds of jobs. They’re actually very fun and dynamic, which is perfect for getting a start in a new industry. The other panelists provided advice rather than specifics. Kylie mentioned how there are gaps in the industry that you could potential fill, while Andrea advised to make contacts with your fellow classmates and professors.

Q) Any advice for looking for internships or jobs in this industry?
A) Joe told the room that what you “can’t teach” is curiosity, poise, and any other form of emotional intelligence. “It is a people business!” said Kylie. Gilad warned the students to be creative; “We can all make resumes and use Microsoft Word and Excel,” so people need to find ways to stand out. The overall vibe of this question shifted when the topic of competition came up. The panelist discussed that, unfortunately, the hospitality and tourism industry is very competitive, and we are ultimately competing against one another [our classmates]. They advised that students should not let their classes, and this impending competitiveness come between them following their dreams.

Q) If students want to transition, or if students from different majors, want to enter the tourism industry, what should they do to be successful at this?

A) Joe sees these students are a benefit to the industry. These students will probably possess skills that set them apart, since they have studied and experienced different industries. These “Outsiders” [used endearingly] will come into the tourism industry with a new perspective, which will help evolve the space and make the tourism industry grow as a whole.
To do so, Gilad believes students should have excitement and be ready to take responsibility. Since this is a people/service industry, certain students may have never experienced this type of direct guest interaction, which can be advantageous and dangerous to their work ethic equally. Essentially, the panel advised students who wish to enter this industry to come prepared because rarely will it be like any industry they have been in before.

Q) What are the current trends in the tourism industry?

A) Joe: Experiential travel. With the major exposure of AirBnB, people are looking for more local experiences to truly experience the culture the most direct way they can.
Andrea: Tourism is to have other trickle in and experience without disturbing locals. For example, wildlife and African tourism: trying to find ways for tourists to come in, experience daily life in Africa and perhaps experiencing the wildlife of the region as well, but all without completely uprooting the locals and exploiting their people.
Gilad: Rise of travel to cities. For example, people are coming to New York City for much more than just Times Square, like it used to be years ago. People are venturing to different boroughs such as Brooklyn and Queens! Less and less are people purchasing tourism packages; tourists are now doing a lot more research on their own online before coming into a new city so that they can either save their money and/or get to decided for themselves where they will go.
Kylie: Brand loyalty. People are interested in buying trips to new cities from products such as newspapers and massive wholesale stores (such as Costco). There is an interconnection between products and travel that, even if the buyers do not realize they are connected, it is a growing trend they are contributing to.

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Next lecture: Thursday April 7th, 6:30-8:00pm; A Conversation with Jonathan Tisch.