South Africa is home to diverse cultures and breath-taking scenery – the perfect place to take a sho’t left! The tourism industry is one that plays an important role in job creation and in the economy of the country as a whole. It also offers a variety of sectors to choose from, giving you many career options to pursue.

If you are looking to make a success of your tourism career, take a look at these 5 helpful tips:

1 – Gain the relevant knowledge

Before you start your career in the tourism industry, you should have the necessary knowledge to be able to make the right moves. Invest in your future by studying a course in tourism, and learn about the different sectors that exist in this industry so that you can be sure about where you fit.

Alternatively, if you already know where in tourism you would like to be, you could seek out a mentor and shadow a few people so that you can gain insight and advice from those who are already established in the industry.

If your aim is to start a business in the tourism industry, you can gain much of the knowledge, skills, experience, and contacts you need by working as an employee in the industry first.

Also read: 3 Skills in Demand in the Tourism Industry

2 – Research the market

To achieve success in the industry, it is important to know and understand the tourism market well. Knowledge gives you an added advantage when it comes to establishing yourself.

Know who your competitors are, and make sure that your product or service can compete with theirs. It is also important to know what the challenges are of the business and how you plan on handling those. This will help you have a competitive edge.

3 – Know what you have to offer

It is important to understand the service or product you want to offer. Determine how it fits into the industry and ensure that you have a unique selling point that will make your product or service stand out among the others.

Ensure that you have thought about all the aspects that make your service or product stand out – like packaging, pricing, and special packages you might want to offer and how you would you like to present these.

4 – Market your service or product

The service or product that you offer needs to be marketed if you are to make a success of it. If no one knows about your service or product, you won’t have any customers, which means you won’t make any profit. Marketing is an important aspect of running your business. To attract more customers, look for alternative ways in which to advertise your business. Here is an example:

According to Business Partners Ltd, “One way to get to the end user is by partnering with other tourism ventures that may be targeting the same people you are. By teaming up, you can offer a more competitive, ‘all-inclusive’ holiday package.”

5 – Provide quality service

The customer experience should be the central focus of your service or product. People who use it have expectations and if those expectations are not met or exceeded, it could be bad for business. Remember, customers who have a positive experience with your service or product will have positive things to say, which will market your business further through word of mouth.

It is also important to be aware of customer complaints and how to handle them so you can ensure that you always provide your customers with quality service.

The tourism industry has a lot to offer in terms of career opportunities and it also contributes to the growth of the country. It is the face of the country, and its success depends a lot on the experiences people have and what they say about those experiences.

While launching yourself in the industry, keep in mind that your passion, your honesty, and your service will bring you the kind of success that can last you a long time and that gives you a reputation that keeps your doors open.

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Note: This article was originally published on 28 September 2016, and has been updated for relevance and accuracy.