Philippine travel agency steps up to train next-gen players

Manila-based Rajah Travel Corporation (RTC) will launch a travel management programme covering aspects that are usually not taught in hospitality schools, so as to groom a new generation of industry-ready graduates.

Titled Remote Practicum Mentorship, the programme is touted as an alternative learning activity for tourism and hospitality students aimed at “bridging the gap between what is being taught in schools and what is happening in the workplace”, said RTC chair and president Aileen Clemente.

Slated to launch on October 5, the course is the only one of its kind in the Philippines, as most schools’ curriculum and on-the-job training are less focused on tourism (travel agencies, tour operators), and more on hospitality (hotels, culinary, cruise ships, etc.), Clemente claimed.

In a recent Tourism Industry Board Foundation webinar, Clemente said the online programme will include topics not taught in schools, such as corporate travel, programme management and supplier negotiations.

Sessions will range from understanding the jargon, fares, pricing and tariffs to content platforms beyond GDS. Students will also be able to put theory into practice with application exercises, situational analysis, simple business simulations and complex business situations.

“We are concentrating a lot more on soft skills… Even if you consider booking a menial task, it isn’t really because it is a core business if you put critical thinking into play,” Clemente said.

Practicum advisers, or professors, are allowed to participate in the practicum sessions, she added, so “they can also experience what their students are experiencing and for them to know whether it is a good programme or not”.

Students will be rated based on their analytical skills, critical thinking, attendance and participation, among other things. According to Clemente, the programme with 21 different sessions spanning a total of 540 hours, has been getting a good response from schools.

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