Tourism industry
In 2015 one in 22 employed people in South Africa worked in the tourism industry

Travel agents. Are they needed in South Africa?

14 July 2017  

Sales industry is so fascinating mainly due to the fact, that it is so versatile and offers so many different types of sales jobs. From part time jobs to working from home, job seekers have a chance to select a particular field of sales, based on their skills and interests. Even though it’s popular to chose a position in telecommunications or insurance sales, it is also worth considering to become a travel agent and sell holiday packages and other travel services to the customers.

The reason for this is the thriving tourism industry in Africa. Cultural diversity, wonderful warm climate, unforgettable wildlife and scenery makes South Africa a truly attractive location for travellers. These aspects, certainly, influence the increasing tourism numbers in the country and, furthermore, contribution to the economy. According to, tourism contributes 8,5 percent to the whole continent’s GDP, as well as to the employment in airlines, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and other leisure companies.

This means that this sector is also very beneficial to South Africans themselves, as it adds to the job creation and employment of citizens. Based on the data by the Statistics South Africa (STATS SA), the industry created over 30 000 new jobs in 2015 and increased the workforce in tourism to more than 700 000 individuals. STATS SA also states that in 2015 one in 22 employed people in South Africa worked in the tourism industry.

Tourism and Employment in South Africa

Tourism and Employment in South Africa
Tourism and Employment in South Africa

These jobs in tourism are concentrated in such fields like road transport, accommodation and catering services and retail of products, but the particular position of a travel agent stands out, because it consists of duties that involve the majority of these fields and the job itself could be assigned to sales.

A travel agent assists their clients in planning their trip, like bookings of flights, other transport, accommodation, managing budgets - basically selling holidays, insurance and related services. In the same way as any other salesperson, a travel agent is required to have a sound knowledge of customer service and the main methods of promoting and selling those services. One should also be familiar with travel trends and have some travel experience in order to truly succeed at this job.

South Africans, in particular, have lots of possibilities to get to know their own country - the annual celebration called the Tourism Month is even held here that focuses on the importance of tourism to the South Africa’s economy. More than that, this event has a goal to encourage the domestic travel and make the citizens understand what sort of attractions make their own country so appealing to the foreigners.

There is no doubt that it’s worth considering working in this industry that has such a bright future - according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, as South Africa remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, it is expected that travel and tourism sector will support more than 380 million jobs by 2027 and will continue to contribute to the country’s economy.

Are you a know-it-all person that has passion for travelling as well as strong sales skills and is prepared to provide tourism related services to the clients? Is so, maybe you should try and get a job in sales or specifically at a travel agency!

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