Got a dream vacation but do not know how to plan it? We ask a travel advisor, Ameer Singh, to tell us about how he makes travel dreams a reality.
Planning your dream vacation is no easy task. There are so many logistics to worry about like accommodation, expenses, travel routes and transportation. This is why we have travel advisors like Ameer Singh to help us with our travel needs.
At a shop house office along North Bridge Road, 33-year-old Ameer Singh shared about being a travel advisor.
WHO: Ameer Singh, 33.
OCCUPATION: Travel Advisor at STA Travel
When I started out, I did not have any experience or educational background related to tourism. I was lucky to have the opportunity to join STA Travel as a travel advisor. STA sent me for a nine-month tourism diploma course at Tourism Management Institute of Singapore (TMIS) in 2008.
Everyone says that it is because we want to travel. But I do not get to travel as much as my clients do. I have a passion for learning about new places and I want to share (that knowledge) with people.
I have been in the travel trade for eight years. The tourism trade changes according to developments in technology. Eight years ago, we had physical tickets, but now, everything is electronic. I really have to keep up with the changes in this industry. People use their smart phones for everything, so we have to find ways to tell people that we are still relevant. We need to read up and know what is going on in the travel market.
I arrange flights, accommodation, and tour bookings for travellers.
Everyday, I check my travel bookings to see if any payments are due. I check for changes in flights or travel schedules. I have to know what is going on around the world and look out for things like natural disasters, for the welfare of my clients.
If any problem arises regarding hotels or flights, I check back with our tour suppliers or airlines to try to resolve the issue.
I love it when I tell people about a destination and they form dreams (of going there). The most pleasing part about my job is when a client comes back and hands me a souvenir from their trip as a token of appreciation. It is very satisfying to feel that I have played a part in fulfilling their “dreams”.
About two to three times a year, we get to be tour leaders. I led a tour in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam three weeks ago. Basically, I arranged the itinerary and oversaw the trip.
During tours, I will explain what the tour guide has said in the lingo that we Singaporeans can understand (as their English might not be good). In Vietnam, I had to learn basic Vietnamese greetings and key words such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
No job starts easy. It can be stressful. It is not just about having knowledge about Singapore or Asia, you have to know about the world. If you have a passion for travel and like to help people and see them live their dreams, it (this job) will give you some dreams as well.
Educational requirements: Good in English. GCE O’ Level certificate.
Qualities needed: Good people/communication skills, patience and the ability to multi-task. You also should be interested in the job and have a good work attitude.
Working hours: Usually 10am – 6pm, Monday – Friday. Occasionally, we work long hours, depending on the clients’ needs.
Salary range: Basic starting pay is about $1,300 a month, excluding commission.
Career prospects/advancements/specialisations: Start out by being a travel advisor at a travel agency. You can branch out into working for tour suppliers, airlines or the tourism board.
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