There are various ways for a travel professional to become certified. The three main sources are: Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), The Travel Institute and through the various supplier sites. While there are other methods of training for a travel professional, CLIA and The Travel Institute are the two main ones recognized throughout the industry.
Cruise Line International Association
Through CLIA a travel professional will take courses, do ship inspections, bookings and testing to obtain various credentials. Certified Cruise Counsellor (CCC) is the first one and is for the beginning travel professional. The Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC) is the second, then comes Master Cruise Counsellor (MCC), then Elite Cruise Counsellor (ECC). Each one requires higher education, bookings and other requirements.
The Travel Institute
Through The Travel Institute there are other certification designations. These again are through course study and proctored, closed-book testing and are more comprehensive and require certain levels of experience. They include Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), and the Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE). These all require Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to maintain these certifications every year. Again, each certificate level is more intense and for different levels in the agency. For instance, the Certified Travel Industry Executive is for the owner of a large agency. These trainings cover a broader base of study like geography, customer service, communications, etc. rather product or destination. It gives an overall picture of being a travel professional.
The Travel Institute also offers Specialist Programs in various areas such as Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and various suppliers. These Specialist Programs count towards the CEU requirements. They offer in-depth information about various destinations and are usually offered by the travel bureaus of those destinations.
The various vendors offer training of their own on their products. This is a great way for the travel professional to learn everything they need to answer most of the questions about each product they sell. Travel professionals are able to keep up with new amenities, changes and upgrades for the various products offered. The various cruise lines and hotels are a great training source for the travel professional.
Using a certified travel professional ensures that they are knowledgeable about products, destinations, geography and how to run a business. They aren’t just someone who took an hour webinar and then declared themselves a “certified” travel agent. They are here to help you, are here for the duration and are here to match the product to your travel needs, not just to book whatever.
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