Destinations Programme Officer Isabel Kearney and Industry Programmes Officer Jasmine Stevens Wong recently spent a week in Cyprus with TUI UK & Ireland experiencing the work of a Holiday Advisor first hand. Isabel reports back from the trip…
We arrived at Paphos airport with our Thomson and First Choice staff t-shirts carefully packed in our suitcases, having done the online Holiday Advisor training and full of trepidation about what the week would hold for us.
The itinerary that TUI put together for us was packed and we were able to visit a number of different TUI products, ranging from Gold hotels, which are traditionally for over 60s, to Holiday Villages aimed at families, and hotels just for couples. We enjoyed entertainment including Thomson’s lottery, First Choice’s Widget puppets, resident singing duos and a comedian.
We met very dedicated Holiday Advisors, who worked hard to meet their customer service and sales targets, and ensure their customers had a great holiday – whether it was recommending the best excursion for a couple with difficulties walking, or taking part in aqua aerobics by the pool. We did our best to help with customer enquiries, booked hire cars, took part in poolside PR and assisted with the welcome and departure meetings.
As part of the week, we had the opportunity to spend three nights in Ayia Napa with the 2wentys Holiday Advisors and saw the difference between a 2wentys welcome meeting and one for couples, as well as going on a guided bar crawl ending in a UV paint party.
You may be wondering what going to UV paint parties with 18 year olds in Ayia Napa has to do with our roles within the Travel Foundation…
The whole experience has given us a deeper understanding of mainstream tourism and the challenges Holiday Advisors and Reps face in resort, so that we can design sustainable tourism projects that are more achievable and will have a greater impact in destinations.
Seeing for ourselves the challenges and opportunities for promoting sustainability in destinations will guide us in developing focused industry training. We’d like to pass on our thanks to TUI UK & Ireland for creating this trip, which was a first for the Travel Foundation.