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SITTIND001B Develop and update tourism industry knowledge

Sources of information relevant to the tourism


There are many and varied sources of tourism information that are relevant
to the tourism industry. A range of information sources is listed below.

1. The role of Tourism industry associations and

These organisations are an invaluable source of information primarily
concerned with the interests of employers and organisations, as well as the
growth and expansion of tourism industry sectors. They collect and compile
up-to-date tourism data and make it readily available to their members and
other industry professionals to assist in planning and enhance business
opportunities and growth.

Some examples of associations and industry bodies include:

 Tourism Research Australia (TRA): http://www.tra.australia.com
 Tourism Australia: http://www.tourism.australia.com
 State and Territory Tourism Commissions e.g. Tourism New South
Wales: http://www.visitnsw.com and Tourism Queensland,:
 Regional / Local Tourist Association e.g. Glenelg Visitor Information
Centre, Manly Visitor Information Centre, etc. view at Total Travel:
 Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA): http://www.afta.com.au
 International Air Transport Association (IATA):
 Meetings & Events Australia (MEA):

2. Unions
Unions such as the Australian Services Union (ASU) provide their members
with assistance and advice in the following areas according to the relevant
industry they represent:
 protection relating to issues in the workplace such as safety, unfair
dismissal, working conditions, entitlements, award wages,
discrimination and harassment

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 support to improve workplace conditions for workers such as

negotiating improved pay; different types of leave e.g. sick leave,
maternal/paternal leave, study leave, and long service leave.
 legal representation relating to industrial disputes

3. Policy and procedure manuals

Policy and procedure manuals provide information and instructions for
those employed with the organisation. These determine the basis for
achieving consistent standards of behaviour, operating procedures, quality
of products and services provided.

This information source is essential as it explains to all staff what is

expected to meet the company’s desired goals and achieve business success.
It supports staff in ensuring decisions and behaviour is aligned with the
principles of the organisation and / or the suppliers’ contractual agreements.

Many organisations have a Code of Conduct manual which includes Ethics

Policy and Privacy Policy.

These guidelines are implemented to protect customers and to ensure that

each client is treated fairly and in an honest manner.

4. Media
This includes local and national newspapers, magazines, DVD’s, television
programs e.g. documentaries, news, and TV travel programs.


These can include the national and local newspapers. The general news
sections, specific articles and travel supplements are sources of relevant
information. Regularly scan your daily and local newspapers to find
references to travel and tourism. Even stock market shares reflect the
development (or reduction) in company growth. Reliable newspapers are
excellent sources of current (and often topical and controversial)


You may already regularly purchase or subscribe to magazines, with travel

articles or segments included in them; or perhaps browsed through a
specialist travel magazine such as Gourmet Traveller, Leisure Traveller;
Condé Nast Traveller, National Geographic, or NRMA Open Road. These
magazines provide information on current events and trends within the

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Videos, DVDs and CD ROMs

Often the suppliers of tourism products, such as tour operators or tourism

marketing bodies such as State and Territory Tourism Commissions,
produce multi-media resources for the promotion and enticement to use
their product and/or visit their destination.


Television has expanded the ‘reach’ of media becoming a major form of

education. The interest in travel and tourism has lead to a massive increase
to the wide variety of programs e.g. documentaries such as Getaway, The
Great Outdoors, Food Safari and Global Village. It has also led to the
creation of the National Geographic and Discovery television channels. If
you are interested in travel and tourism, you have probably become a
regular audience of programmes such as these.

5. The Internet
The Internet is an increasingly important source of information, which is
easily accessible due to technological developments in computer software,
ipods, mobile telephones, and the improved multi-purposing and/or
integration of systems and portability etc.

However, the challenge is to find information quickly that relates directly to

what you need. Most importantly, the user should always ensure that the
information is from a reliable, secure and up-to-date source.

Research the author and guidelines for uploading information to the website.
Consider whether the information has been endorsed, and can be
substantiated by statistics and facts from other reliable sources e.g.
Government departments or known industry bodies with long history and
professional reputation; their reports, surveys or consensus results etc.

6. Guide books
You may have noticed that shelves in bookshops allocated to travel seem to
have expanded in size and number over the past 8-10 years. This is evidence
of the increasing number and variety of guidebooks being published to
address the demands created by many more people travelling, and people
travelling further to more unfamiliar destinations. Some examples are:
Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides.

Obtain a copy (or borrow from your local library) of a guidebook to a

destination you might like to visit. ‘Flick through’ the contents and note key
headings to familiarise yourself with the type of information available from
this source.

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Many guidebooks also have websites. Here are a few examples:

 Lonely Planet: www.lonelyplanet.com

 Frommer’s: http://www.frommers.com

 Michelin: http://www.viamichelin.com

7. Libraries
As a TAFE student you have access to an extensive network throughout
New South Wales via inter-library loans. You will be able to borrow or
review resources such as guidebooks, maps, charts, and DVDs on
destinations and tour products, etc. You will also have access to Internet
resources and online databases or e-resources.

8. Automated information systems

These automated information systems are used by many different
organisations within the tourism and other industries, and more recently by
clients or potential clients via the Internet. Each type of user requires the
information for different reasons. The different types of users of automated
information systems can include suppliers of tourism services, industry
organisations such as retail travel agents and tour wholesalers/tour
operators, the media, consumers, the government, and any
educational/training organisation.

There are a few internationally-recognised tourism industry systems e.g.

Galileo by Travelport®; Amadeus® or Sabre®.

9. Product database and suppliers

Product databases and suppliers include accommodation, airlines, coach
companies and attractions. These businesses or ‘product suppliers’ produce
brochures, sales kits and manuals giving details of features, benefits and
costs of their products and services.

Again, product databases are a component within the computerised

reservation system (CRS) used in travel agencies, tour wholesalers, visitor
information centres (VIC) and some international hotels.

10. Industry reference books

There is a wide range of reference material published for the industry. Some
of these include Travel Information Manuals (TIM), Hotel Information
Manual (HIM), Travel Trade, Travel Weekly, transport timetables from

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carriers, visa and passport requirements and medical/vaccination

requirements. Government departments and their websites) also provide
travel advice.

Most current information can be found in an online computer reservation

system (CRS) known as Timatic.

Timatic delivers personalised information based on the passengers

destination, transit points, nationality, travel document, residence country
etc. Timatic is now an electronic version of the TIM (Travel Information
Manual) which can be accessed through any CRS. Therefore, the TIM
which was once only available in a text manual is now available
electronically with the advancement of computers. The TIM provides
information ranging from passport, visa and health requirements and
recommendations, plus information on airport tax, customs and currency

11. Industry journals and other publications

Take the time to review the publications produced by organisations such as
the Tourism Research Australia (TRA); Science and Resources (Sport &
Tourism Division); and the Tourism Forecasting Committee. There are
many to select from and are valuable sources of data as they contain primary
sources of information obtained from ongoing market and sector
evaluations. Therefore it is important for you to continue your research and
maintain up to date, accurate, reliable and valid information during your
career utilising industry recognised sources such as these.

Also the trade press refers to the newspapers and magazines published for
employees working in the industry and students studying tourism for
example: the Traveltrade, TravelWeek and Inside Tourism. These may have
online websites with options to download printable articles.

You may also subscribe to these to become informed of what is happening

in the industry, locally and globally.

12. Tourism organisations

Take the time to review the publications produced by organisations such as
Tourism Australia and the Tourism Forecasting Committee. Again, these
may be financially resourced or endorsed by Government departments and
are usually supported by industry/employer/employee membership.

13. Local councils and chambers of commerce

Councils and chambers of commerce serve the needs of their respective
local business community and support the requirements of the local

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community. They provide current visitor information on attractions and

specific tourist highlights; warnings on local areas such as particular roads
or attractions being closed due to recent flooding and information about any
events or festivals the area is due to experience.

These organisations often have useful information about local areas. They
often produce tourism plans as well as information on visitor movements.

14. Personal travel, observations and experience

We all enjoy travel and perhaps that is the primary reason for pursuing a
career in tourism. Think about how your own travel experiences add to your
knowledge of products and destinations. However, always consider that
your own personal needs, requirements and expectations are not always the
same as your clients. Research your market and regularly evaluate client
profiles. Ask yourself whether you are meeting the demand (needs of
clients), rather than offering products and services you would be interested

The value of experiential learning (acquired by personal travel experiences),

is recognised for its educational value to employers and their business
success. It is common practice for businesses to offer employees the benefits
of ‘familiarisation’ trips (or ‘famils’). Employees may visit destinations,
participate in tours, or stay in accommodation or other venues that are
offered by their company. This is usually free of charge to the employee.
The purpose is to evaluate, research and report on the quality, the product
and services, and to improve the employee’s skills/knowledge of these –
enabling them to sell and promote these more effectively.

Consider: How would your personal observations and experience influence

the way you present tours and destinations to your clients? How would your
travel experience improve your ability to meet your clients’ requirements,
needs and expectations?

15. Professional development opportunities

Tourism employees may attend industry-related functions or events and
participate in ‘familiarisations’ (‘famils’) also referred to as ‘educational
trips’, to improve their skills and knowledge of local and global issues,
products and services across the different sectors of the industry.

Opportunities for sharing and disseminating information and networking


Industry functions and seminars

You can gather much information, discuss issues that affect your work (and
expand your network of contacts) by attending conferences, seminars,

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workshops and training programs provided by product suppliers, travel

organisations and associations. Some of these sources may be difficult to
access if you don't already work in the tourism industry.


Networking, or meeting and talking with colleagues, fellow industry

personnel and customers is another useful method of discovering more
about the industry, new products and services, trends in different industry
sectors, new technologies, and on-the-job training. You should always be on
the alert to expanding your contacts.

‘Educationals’ / ‘Famils’

These were mentioned earlier. They are a trip or visit sponsored by a

tourism organisation for tourism employees to experience first-hand their
products and/or services. Tourism employees visit unfamiliar destinations,
or participate in site inspections of businesses such as a resort or a theme

16. Colleagues, supervisors/team leaders and manager

as mentors
Meeting and talking with colleagues, supervisors/team leaders, managers
and fellow industry personnel, either formally or informally is another way
to acquire current knowledge about the industry, destinations, etc.

Keeping up-to-date with contractual agreements within the organisation is

essential. Colleagues who have been with the organisation for a longer
period of time (than you) will serve as invaluable mentors. They have
acquired a wealth of experience and knowledge that you could benefit from,
if they are willing to share this with you.

Updating and sharing information on a regular basis in team meetings etc. is

crucially important for keeping abreast of industry changes i.e.: legislation,
global issues etc., and organisational practices within the company.

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