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Travel and Tourism Specialist Program Overview

Become a Travel Agent in as little as 6 months with Penn Foster’s accredited Travel and Tourism Specialist program. Through the travel agent training program you will learn how to arrange all modes of transportation for travel; how to book hotels, motels and resorts; how to recommend popular tourist destinations; and the different career paths you can take as a travel professional. When you graduate, you earn an accredited diploma and are eligible to take the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification exam. Developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and The Travel Institute, this exam measures the basic knowledge and proficiency of entry-level travel agents. Learn everything you’ll need at home, on the go, and at a pace that’s right for you.

Curriculum Details

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
The Travel Professional

Start your journey to an exciting career as a travel professional by exploring the fascinating world of travel and tourism.

Objectives:

  • Learn the language of travel professionals.
  • Review the businesses, associations, and agencies that make up the travel industry.
  • Study the different categories of travel.
  • Define the common types of travelers.

Unit 2

North American Air Travel, Part 1

Airline travel is one of the largest subsectors of the travel industry. Learn how deregulation changed the airline industry.

Objectives:

  • Examine basic airline operations.
  • Review U.S. geography, and learn computer reservation systems (CRS) codes.
  • Understand how to interpret basic information and flight schedules in a computer reservation system (CRS).
North American Air Travel, Part 2

Expand on your knowledge of air travel by examining domestic airfares, taxes, and surcharges, and the principles that govern how these components are constructed.

Objectives:

  • Complete airline tickets using basic airfare codes and itinerary pricing.
  • Learn how to process prepaid ticket advices (PTAs) and ticket refunds.

Unit 3

World Geography, Part 1

Study physical geography—the unique features that distinguish different regions of the world—by exploring the continents and five great oceans.

Objectives:

  • Use absolute measurements such as latitude and longitude to find locations on a map.
  • Learn how to tell time using the 24-hour clock system.
  • Be able convert time to different time zones.
World Geography, Part 2

Study the location geography—the study of where places are located in relation to one another—of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Objective:

  • Discover all of the unique and interesting features found around the world.
International Air Travel

Build on what you’ve learned in earlier lessons by exploring international air travel.

Objectives:

  • Learn about various types of required travel documents, customs regulations, arrival and departure procedures.
  • Be able to convert US dollars to local currency utilizing foreign exchange rates.
  • Analyze how international airfares, taxes, and surcharges differ from domestic air travel.
  • Complete international airline tickets using codes for international airlines, cities, and airports.

Unit 4

Exploring the World, Part 1

Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in North America, Central America, and South America.

Objectives:

  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.
Exploring the World, Part 2

Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Objectives:

  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.
Exploring the World, Part 3

Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific.

Objectives:

  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.

Unit 5

Hotels and Resorts

Qualify clients to sell them the best hotel and resort accommodations.

Objectives:

  • Be able to distinguish between leisure and business clients.
  • Learn the types of hotels and hotel ownership structures, room rate plans, taxes, and service charges.
  • Explore career opportunities in hospitality.
Tours and Vacation Packages

Some clients want more than a simple trip from point A to point B. In this lesson, learn all about the benefits of tour and vacation packages.

Objectives:

  • Explore techniques for planning custom-made tours and vacations.
  • Review the steps for processing payment for these trips.

Unit 6

Cruises

Dive right into the fascinating world of water travel.

Objectives:

  • Learn about the types of vessels and passenger markets.
  • Examine the typical fares, discounts, and additional costs of water travel, and the basic types of accommodations and dining services.
  • Explore the possible activities and excursions, and learn how to locate resources and brochures to sell cruises.
Rails and Cars

Learn about domestic and international car rental and rail companies.

Objectives:

  • Be able to explain and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of car rental versus rail travel.
  • Explore the basic route systems, fee structures, seating accommodations, booking and documentation procedures, and types of insurance.

Unit 7

First Steps in Using a Personal Computer

This course will help you get used to the computer by walking you through the first steps of using your PC.

Objectives:

  • Set up a computer system.
  • Navigate in the Windows® environment.
  • Consult on-screen Help for answers to questions.
  • Use the programs contained in Windows® Accessories and System Tools for Windows.®
Understanding Software

This course provides an in-depth introduction to commonly used Windows®-based productivity software packages.

Objective:

  • Learn how to use word processing, spreadsheet, and database packages.

Unit 8

Computerized Reservation Systems (CRS)

In this lesson, you'll examine the basic capabilities of a CRS.

Objectives:

  • Use a CRS to plan trips for your clients. 
  • Analyze and apply these functions to a case study.
Travel and the Internet

In this lesson, you'll learn how to use the Internet to effectively market your travel agency online.

Objectives:

  • Attract clients to your website. 
  • Plan the best trips for your clients by researching destinations and checking climate information and travel advisories.

Unit 9

CRS Training: Apollo® or Sabre®

Choose either Apollo® or Sabre,® and then complete hands-on training in a live online database-emulation for the CRS system of your choice.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to use Apollo® or Sabre® to make an airline, car, and hotel reservation.
  • Be able to determine airline fares and issue tickets.

Unit 10

Corporate and Group Travel

Explore the various career opportunities in corporate and group travel.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to establish a corporate profile and draft requests for proposals (RFPs).
  • Analyze the dynamics of corporate and group travel.
  • Identify potential incentives of planning this type of travel.
Sales and Business Communication

Learn the best ways to market and sell travel.

Objectives:

  • Learn the five basic steps of selling.
  • Review the elements of successful selling.
  • Explore techniques for qualifying clients, overcoming objections, and closing a sale.
  • Be able to draft and process after-sale documents, such as invoices and receipts.

Unit 11

Your Travel Career

Jump-start your travel career by learning where to look for career opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Utilize techniques for writing an effective resume and cover letter.
  • Learn useful interview tips to help you land your dream travel job.
  • Explore various avenues for professional development and continuing education to build a successful and rewarding travel career.
Starting a Travel Agency

Learn what it takes to start your own travel agency.

Objectives:

  • Learn the key components of a business plan.
  • Be able to prepare a business plan.
  • Determine which licenses you’ll need.
  • Understand how to determine the best location for your agency.
  • Review the major organizations that approve travel agencies.

Unit 12

TAP Certification Examination*

When you reach this lesson, you’ll be given a certificate that allows you to sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification exam. Developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Travel Institute, this exam measures the basic knowledge and proficiency of entry-level travel agents.

It’s administered independently, so you’ll receive a complete information packet to make arrangements for this exam, which you’ll complete in the form of a proctored exam. You’ll select the location and the person you want to supervise the exam according to Penn Foster’s established policies and qualifications.

* You must successfully complete this exam to graduate from this program.

Graduation Gift

When you graduate...

When you graduate, you'll receive

(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

The Travel Institute Destination Specialist Course Certificate

After graduating, you’ll receive a certificate to enroll, at no extra cost, in a Destination Specialist course at The Travel Institute. This course allows you to explore a personal interest area in greater detail and prepares you for the Destination Specialist certification exam. To earn designation as a specialist in that area, you must have at least 12 months of travel industry experience and pass the Destination Specialist exam. You may specialize in one of the following destination areas: Alaska, Caribbean, East Asia, European Culture and Heritage, France, Hawaii, India, Mexico, North America, Northern and Central Europe, South Pacific, Southern Europe, Spain, or St. Lucia.

The Travel Institute’s courses also count as continuing education credits toward maintaining certification as a Certified Travel Associate (CTA), which is the second step of professional certification. To become certified as a CTA, professionals must pass the CTA exam and have 18 months of travel industry experience. Note: Professionals who have successfully completed the TAP exam and who wish to take the CTA exam need only 12 months of industry travel experience.


Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Travel and Tourism Specialist sample lesson, click here.

Travel and Tourism Specialist Program Details

Penn Foster will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to learn how to become a Travel Agent.

As part of the program, upon graduation you will be eligible to sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification examination developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and The Travel Institute.

After graduating, you’ll also receive a certificate to enroll, at no extra cost, in a Destination Specialist course at The Travel Institute. This course allows you to explore a personal interest area in greater detail and prepares you for the Destination Specialist certification exam.

Here are a few qualities that effective travel and tourism specialists have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye to find great deals.
  • Creative: To help clients find the best travel packages, you often need to think outside of the box.
  • Organized: You need to coordinate transportation, reservations, and other activities.
  • Dependable: People rely on you to plan important events and relaxing getaways for a good price.

Earning my Travel and Tourism Specialist Career Diploma at Penn Foster has opened up more employment opportunities for me. Also, take advantage of the resume building information at the end of your program. It really does make a difference.

- Larry H., Travel and Tourism Specialist Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids, a certificate allowing graduates to sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification examination, and the Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA) continuing education program voucher included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Travel and Tourism Specialist academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

What is the TAP certification examination, and how does it work?

As part of the program, you'll receive a certificate allowing you to sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification examination developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and The Travel Institute. The TAP exam is a 100-question, closed-book, and multiple-choice exam. Students have two hours to complete it.

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