Kashmir Scan, May 2014

Nazia Mustafa Punoo looks at tourism as career in Kashmir and chalks out the opportunities that are knocking at the doors of Kashmiri youth interested in the tourism sector

“If you love travel, then why not make a career of it. People who work in travel and tourism have a passion for travel”.

 kashmir-TOURISMThe travel and tourism industry has emerged as one of the fastest growing sector contributing significantly to economic growth and development. Tourism is considered as a calling area for pursuit of careers that finds favour with travel enthusiasts/fans though much has changed in past 25 years. In Kashmir it has grown fast with tourist arrivals crossing 11 lakh including 28,000 foreigners.

Tourism is no longer confined to old approach of getting more and more tourists but has moved towards sustainability. A consciousness is emerging that tourism can lead to development. Due to this change tourism has created many areas of empolyment. People at tourist destinations are coming forward to arrange meals or to offer home stays. This sector favours employment of young, engagement of small entrepreneurs and participation of manpower at destination level.

Youth can explore careers in tourism as jobs are plenty and demand ranges from unskilled to highly skilled professionals. Tourism industry is alltogether different from other sectors as it is based on networks integrated together. Professionalism in each network is the key to a satisyfying tourist experience.

Tourism industry is based on 4A’s  i.e.  Attraction/Destination, Access/Transportation, Accommodation and Amenities/Destination facilities. Attraction offers opportunities in areas such as built attractions (heritage),natural attractions(landscapes),cultural attraction(presentation of folk) or social attraction. Similarly all forms of accessibility need people to run the business. Same is the case with the accommodation and amenities sector.The tourism industry encompasses several types of jobs from service providers to executive positions. Different areas are available to work in as well. There are opportunities for entrepreneurs,managers,supervisors and workers.

Some of the important areas where careers can be planned are:

       I.            Travel Services: Within this sector one has the flexibility of working in various capacities with event and conference planning organizations, travel companies, government agencies and companies that specialises in serving the needs of tourism sector as a whole. It is a popular sector and can be very competitive because there trend to be few employment opportunities.But if one likes getting people to where they want to go, Be sure to spend some time exploring the job potential of travel services.

    II.            Accomodation Sector: Accomodation sector is one of the largest and fastest growing sector in tourism industry. Accomodation offers a wide variety of job opportunities and if one enjoys making people feel at home, this may be the perfect for that. One can work at hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, inns etc.

 III.            Transportation Sector: Transportation is not just about getting people from here to there. It’s about making the journey pleasurable and efficient, with good service and comfortable surrounding. Employees in this sector provide transportation by air, land or water which means one could work for an airline, cruise ship, railway, ferry, rental car company among many other options. While  this is the smallest sector working in this sector often offers the opportuinity to travel while earning money.

 IV.            Guiding for tours: Guide holds the importance in imparting destination knowledge to the tourists and is also known as the tourism ambassador of a destination. A person who is good in communication, presentation, destination knowledge can easily pursue career in this field. In Kashmir one tier system is followed for guides i.e. local guides. These guides are licensed by Department of  Tourism and are trained by Institute of Hotel Management and Department of Tourism under scheme of Hunr Se Rozgar Tak- A course instituted by Govt. of India.

    V.            Tour operator: Tour operators are involved in planning, development, promotion and aministration of tourism products. They oversee all the day-to-day tasks and also supervise, motivate and train staff. Tour operators are employed by tour or transportation companies, resorts or attractions.

 VI.            Travel journalism and Travel Photography: With the use of social media and reference of tour related information this area is emerging fast. People with writing skills can share their experience through articles. Those who have passion for photography can make their careers in tourism industry by joining travel magazines and by specialising in photographic segments such as heritage, adventure.wildlife.

  1. Bird watching tours: Birding is for everyone who is interested in enjoying nature. Bird diversity varies seasonally and as many as 554 species belonging to 13 orders have been recorded in J&K. This can create  employment opportunity for bird watching guides who have knowledge about  birds, handling of groups, location knowledge and guiding skills as half day or full day bird watching tours can be easily arranged.
  2. Handicrafts: One can easily start a small entrepreneurial unit by learning skills of local handicraft making. The handicrafts of Kashmir are an important part of its rich cultural heritage.

                        The above is just a snap shot of career options as new avenues are opening everday. To equip people for this sector various options of training and education are available ranging from graduate, post graduate courses to skill level training.

                                                                                      Nazia Mustafa Punoo.

                                                                                M.B.A (H.R and Tourism)


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