Travel is life. Nothing could be farther from the truth in my case.
My Early Years
When I started my career in the tourism industry 31 years ago, I did not realize that this job will be popular, a most sought after career, a dream job to some.
Personally, my attraction to tourism and travel started when I was still in high school. As a matter of fact, I even highlighted it in my graduation pamphlet that my ambition is to take up Tourism.
Consistent with my dream of becoming a travel professional, I took up Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in College.
During my internship, I was assigned at Philippine Airlines CRS Department under Mr. Demi Silverio. In my 12 months as an intern, I got exposed to the world of travel -- the deadlines, Abacus Launch, the ins and outs of the airline industry, connecting and networking with other industry stakeholders.
Upon graduation, my boss recommended me to one of the biggest travel agencies in Binondo, Intercontinental Travel. At 21, I started as a Counter Sales Staff in a Chinese Company, dealing with mostly Chinese staff and Chinese clients.
Despite being non-Chinese, I somehow did not find it difficult to adjust. I rose from the ranks and did all sorts of jobs to learn all aspects of the travel agency operations.
From counter sales staff, I was assigned to the ticketing department where I studied visa requirements. I felt very fulfilled whenever I helped people get their visas. Some even became very successful because of the networking opportunities they had with other businesses abroad when they traveled. It felt good to be instrumental to their success.
It was also a thrilling experience whenever clients would give me “pasalubong” from their trips, letting me know that they appreciate the travel arrangements I made for them.
Back then, we did everything manually, we made reservations by calling the airline’s reservation line. Before the internet, we literally did everything by phone.
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Travel will always be my life passion and I will never get tired of navigating both the challenges and the joys that come with it.
My Own Travel Agency with a Heart
My early travel agency experience definitely honed my phonetics and listening skills because we needed to write all the flight details and names of our clients. We maintained booking cards with options/deadlines we should monitor, otherwise, we'll be caught off guard with canceled flights or flight price increases. We also issued tickets manually by writing on the blank carbonated tickets. Now, with computerized and automated systems, those difficult and Jurassic ways of doing things simply had to go.
There were very few travel agencies back then, mostly big companies, and the term “scam” was practically non-existent.
Travel agencies followed strict ethical standards of doing business. Values like word of honor, commitment to clients, and integrity were ingrained in every travel agent.
In terms of clients, the majority of travelers were mostly Chinese families, elite members of the community, business people and members of international organizations. Unfortunately, not every Juan could fly in the old days.
With the introduction of budget airlines which made travel more affordable in recent years, more and more people are realizing the value of traveling.
The internet helped people learn about colorful cultures, unique sightseeing spots, and exotic cuisine. They yearn to go to beautiful places to bond with family and friends. Family or class reunions in other countries became in style and even companies started giving travel as corporate incentives to their best-performing teams or employees.
Social media platforms helped to attract more people to travel. I believe that was when small to medium size travel agencies started mushrooming across the country.
Because of the surge of customer interest in local and international travel, many wish to learn about the business too and make money out of it. Hence, several agencies are now conducting seminars on how to set up a travel agency.
And there lies the problem since not one particular government agency is monitoring these companies claiming to teach the newbies. Whether or not the company is teaching the right way to do business or operate a travel agency is up to their own personal assessment. And let's not even start with the all-out scammers.
We're just starting to scratch the surface of this huge and exciting travel industry where my heart truly belongs.
Recent Tours With Clients
Through this page, I wish to help people get to their dream travel destination by offering travel tips, sharing industry updates and other useful information -- spotting the scammer from the legit agencies, for example. Travel will always be my life passion and I will never get tired of navigating both the challenges and the joys that come with it.
I invite you to join me on this beautiful journey.
Let's do this for the love of travel!