TRAVEL TAKES OFF

Con­sul­tants in de­mand –

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page - BEN HYDE

THE travel in­dus­try has taken off in the af­ter­math of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, blaz­ing a trail of lo­cal job op­por­tu­ni­ties as it goes.

Travel agen­cies in South Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing Flight Cen­tre and Phil Hoff­mann Travel, are ex­pand­ing as busi­ness con­di­tions im­prove and hol­i­days come back into vogue.

Flight Cen­tre SA/NT state man­ager Dan Gal­lagher says the com­pany will open seven new stores in South Aus­tralia next year.

‘‘Our goal is to em­ploy 50 new travel con­sul­tants in the next year in South Aus­tralia and North­ern Ter­ri­tory,’’ he says.

‘‘The ma­jor­ity of new jobs will be in South Aus­tralia.’’

Mr Gal­lagher says new Flight Cen­tre stores are al­ready con­firmed to open in Nu­ri­ootpa, Maw­son Lakes and Aber­foyle Park while the com­pany is also pur­su­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Mitcham and Brighton area.

He says the com­pany would like to open two new stores for its Cruiseabout chain and an­other Travel As­so­ci­ates store.

‘‘Flight Cen­tre has al­ways been ag­gres­sive and strong at open­ing new busi­nesses and own­ing more mar­ket share,’’ he says.

‘‘We didn’t do our nor­mal busi­ness ex­pan­sion last year be­cause of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

‘‘We nor­mally open about seven new stores a year and we are back to do­ing that.’’

Mr Gal­lagher says the open­ing of new stores equates to more job op­por­tu­ni­ties for as­pir­ing travel con­sul­tants.

‘‘It’s great for peo­ple look­ing for an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity to get on board,’’ he says.

‘‘The other great op­por­tu­nity is that we ac­tu­ally pro­vide the train­ing.

‘‘If some­one meets the cri­te­ria they can come from a ca­reer change and if they have got some travel back­ground and they are pretty smart, they can come in and be trained on site, learn­ing on the job.’’

‘‘If they have got great peo­ple skills and if they are able to sit and talk to peo­ple and care about some­one’s dream hol­i­day, they can make a great con­sul­tant.’’

Phil Hoff­mann Travel chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Wil­liams agrees that the travel in­dus­try has re­bounded strongly.

‘‘Phil Hoff­mann Travel has seen a resur­gence in the past nine months,’’ he says.

‘‘The stronger econ­omy, amaz­ing tac­ti­cal of­fers by travel sup­pli­ers and the ex­cep­tional strength in the Aus­tralian dol­lar has cre­ated an in­creased de­mand for in­ter­na­tional travel.’’

Mr Wil­liams says Phil Hoff­mann Travel has ex­panded from three to seven branches over the past year and in­creased its staff from 120 to 150 peo­ple.

He says the com­pany is still seek­ing more em­ploy­ees.

Flight Cen­tre team leader Adam Riessen is one ex­am­ple of the po­ten­tial for ca­reer ad­vance­ment in the in­dus­try.

Mr Riessen, 32, started as a travel con­sul­tant for the com­pany five years ago and now leads a team of six at Flight Cen­tre’s O’Con­nell St, North Ade­laide, of­fice.

He en­cour­ages any­one think­ing about get­ting into the in­dus­try to not hes­i­tate.

‘‘If they are think­ing about it, get in for an in­ter­view,’’ he says. ‘‘There are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties.’’ Af­ter jump­ing be­tween jobs in the de­fence force, re­tail sec­tor and in com­puter net­work­ing be­fore land­ing in the travel in­dus­try, Mr Riessen says he now feels at home at Flight Cen­tre.

‘‘It’s a fan­tas­tic ca­reer choice,’’ Mr Riessen says.

‘‘I en­joy send­ing peo­ple on their dream hol­i­days and be­ing able to get them the best deal.’’

Pic­ture: MICHAEL MARSCHALL

Flight Cen­tre team leader Adam Riessen . . . ‘‘There are a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties’’.

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