While day-to-day business activities may be impacted by the latest news headlines, social distancing has provided us with time for inward reflection. Now is a great time to concentrate on your organization’s greatest asset – you! Consider investing in your future by earning a travel certification.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Benefits of certification

Earning a certification demonstrates your dedication to the travel planning profession. The credentials you earn not only look great on your business card; they help prospective clients distinguish you from other planners. Investing in certification will help expand your knowledge about the industry and provide opportunities to network with other certified colleagues. A strong network can expand business by providing exposure to new audiences.

Certification is defined as comprehensive education provided by an organization with programs that specialize in the travel industry. These programs are different from the training provided by a specific destination or vendor. All certification levels have continued education or other maintenance requirements for sustained recognition.

What certifications are available?

There are several organizations providing certification options for travel advisors. This article concentrates on two of the industry’s highly recognized organizations, The Travel Institute and the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).

The Travel Institute

For more than 50 years, The Travel Institute has provided the following certification opportunities to professionals committed to establishing their expertise as advisors.

  • Certified Travel Associate (CTA) is the most conventional certification. This credential can be earned after 12 months of travel industry experience, studied core classes and passing a comprehensive exam.
  • Certified Travel Consultant (CTC) is the next level of certification, focusing on managerial skills. It requires five years of experience, additional course work, an exam and the composition of a white paper.  
  • The Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) program builds leadership skills. To achieve this level, it is necessary to complete five or more years in a role other than travel sales, fulfill education, pass an exam and compose a white paper.

Certification programs also offer courses that specialize in niche markets such as luxury, honeymoons and destination weddings  and golf. This added education provides advisors marketing distinction to travelers interested to a specific type of travel experience.

Cruise Line International Association (CLIA)

For advisors specializing in cruise travel, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) offers recognized certification programs.

  • Certified Cruise Counsellor (CCC) is the base certification earned through CLIA. Mandatory training sessions, exams, ship inspections, stateroom sales and personal cruise experiences are necessary to earn this distinction.

CLIA offers additional levels of certification including: Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC), Master Cruise Counsellor (MCC) and Elite Cruise Counsellor (ECC). Similar to travel advisor certifications, each cruise counsellor level builds upon the previous level achieved. Earning each certification level is based on the number of credits completed, cruises taken and staterooms booked. Higher levels also include shipboard inspections, the completion of a written paper and participation in industry activities. CLIA also offers Travel Agency Executive (TAE) certification, which focuses on managerial skills. 

The future of your business is in your hands. Dedicating yourself to further education is an investment that may determine how potential travelers choose your services above others.