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Meet Vanessa Barnett: Our wonderful new Course Advisor at the City Campus!

Posted on 03/05/2023 by

Meet Vanessa, our new Course Advisor at the City Campus.

The team at ITC and Study From Home is filled with incredible people who have worked all over the world, in all kinds of fascinating travel and tourism roles.

A perfect example is our newest Course Advisor at the City Campus, Vanessa Barnett. Bitten early by the travel bug, Vanessa went on to earn an Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism with ITC before spending many years working in wholesale travel, exploring some of the most far-flung destinations in the world as part of her work.

Needless to say, her stories and passion are sure to inspire many students and graduates. Here’s a little more about her story and just what she has to offer ITC and Study From Home.

How did you begin your passion for the tourism industry?

I’d always wanted to travel since I was a kid. So as soon as I could, I left home on the traditional Kiwi OE where I spent 4 years living in Dublin and London, but there was still so much of the world I wanted to see.

So WAAAYYY back in 2002 I enrolled at ITC and got my ‘Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism’, so after nearly 20yrs in the industry I have truly come full circle!

What does your travel industry history look like?

After graduating ITC, the employment services team got my foot in the door at Go Holidays, where I was able to learn about the role that wholesale plays within the travel industry – and is a sector I remained in for my entire travel career.

After learning the ropes at Go, an opportunity came for me to move to Adventure World, starting in the finals and documentation department before quickly moving into wholesale reservations, where I specialised in Africa and South & Central America – and in fact, I remained a travel specialist in these areas throughout my travel career.

That’s the fantastic thing about working in wholesale – a travel agent needs to know a little bit about a lot of destinations; so being able to go work with a wholesale team who specialise in one destination and knows it really well is invaluable for their clients. And of course, to know a destination, you need to travel there. My first famil was to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, where I was lucky enough to spend 4 days on the Amazon onboard the Desafio, a classic schooner ship where I caught and ate a piranha, made friends with a 5ft anaconda and watched a pod of pink Amazonian dolphins play around the boat as the sun rose.

I remained at Adventure World for 11 years, and during that time, I had the opportunity to travel to a lot of diverse countries, including Borneo (both Sabah and Sarawak—where I attended a music festival in the jungle, visited an Orangutan sanctuary, and released baby turtles), Chile, Peru (visiting the spectacular Machu Picchu), Bolivia (crossing Lake Titicaca and eating guinea pig), South Africa (where I travelled overland from Johannesburg to Cape Town), China (visiting the amazing Terracotta Warriors) and Hong Kong (shopping, anyone?).

My next opportunity arose in the wholesale adventure department at House of Travel, again specialising in Africa and South & Central America, plus we looked after overland tour bookings with companies such as Intrepid, Explore Worldwide and GAdventures.

I still have a huge passion in these areas and I could talk for hours about the amazing cultural sites in Peru, how wonderful the steak and red wine is in Argentina, the diversity of flora and fauna within South Africa and the best places to see wild dogs in Botswana.

How will your experience help support students?

Having been a student here at ITC myself (albeit before some of our current students were even born) I can share with the students how invaluable this experience was for me and where it can take them.

Also, I think a lot of students come to us with knowledge about the more “well-known” aspects of working in the tourism industry – being a flight attendant, a travel agent or tour guide – but few, if any, know about the wholesale sector and the ability to specialise in an area they’re passionate about.

I can’t wait to tell them all about the amazing famils I’ve been able to go on – places I probably would never have had the opportunity to go to otherwise!

What do you think are the most important skills to have in the tourism industry?

Passion! If you have a passion for travel, or for a particular area of the world, or even for showcasing the amazing things we have on offer here in Aotearoa, then that will take you far in the industry.

Depending on where you end up, you’ll also need flexibility and a willingness to adapt. There are so many different roles, areas and aspects to the travel industry, you’ll truly never know where you could end up!

Having empathy for your clients is essential too – I know that in the roles I have had, I always tried to keep at the forefront of my mind that although this is just another day in the office for me; the itinerary I’m putting together is someone’s dream holiday – they may have spent years putting money aside for their trip of a lifetime – so no matter if it’s your 10th booking that week, it could well be that clients first time out of the country!!

What’s next for the tourism industry?

Covid dealt such a blow to the entire industry worldwide, but it’s back better and brighter than before. People have become so much more environmentally, socially and culturally conscious, and have had the past three years to really think about the impact we have had on our planet, and what kind of impact we want to have in the future; which has had a really positive effect on tourism.

Gone are the days where animals and people are used as tourist commodities and exploited. Instead indigenous cultures are being empowered to tell their own story to visitors, rather than being show-cased as a tourist “attraction” and animals and their native environment are being protected. Sustainable tourism, wildlife conversation projects and community projects are now a huge growth area for tourism – which is a fantastic thing to see!
 
What is your best advice for those getting into the industry now?

They couldn’t have picked a better time with so many sectors of the industry crying out for dedicated and passionate newcomers to fill their ranks now that our borders are back open and travellers are ready to get back out there! Because the industry is so varied – just because you start at a particular point doesn’t mean that you won’t end up somewhere totally different.

Experience within the industry is really important – and whatever you learn you will take with you – your skills will be transferrable. You may start out at the airport check-in and end up being a tour guide in Europe – you just never know! Honestly, the options are endless, you never know where Travel & Tourism will take you.

Study with ITC or Study From Home

Vanessa’s incredible international experiences, time at ITC, and passion for the industry as a whole make her the perfect person to become a Course Advisor for our students. We know she will not just inspire students and graduates, but help them to find the best journeys for them as well.

At ITC and Study From Home, our entire team is filled with professionals just like Vanessa. Everyone has experience in the travel and tourism industry in some way, with endless dedication to helping students and graduates get the most out of their careers.

Take a look at the courses we offer and where they might take you, or get in touch with any questions today.

Study From Home – college@itc.co.nz 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or https://www.studyfromhome.co.nz/contact-us/

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Meet Kimi-Ora Follas – our newest Course Advisor at the Botany campus!

Posted on 19/04/2023 by

Welcome to the team, Kimi!

We always love welcoming new members to the team, and we couldn’t be more excited to give a big ITC welcome to our newest Course Advisor, Kimi-Ora Follas.

Kimi-Ora is an ITC graduate herself, and has spent many years working in travel and tourism around the world and here in New Zealand. Her experience both in the industry and as a student will be hugely valuable to the students she works with, and the team as a whole.

We had a quick chat with Kimi-Ora to learn more about her experience, and what she brings to the team!

How did you begin your passion for the tourism industry?

My high school tourism teacher really inspired me. I remember one specific day where he was talking about his adventures in the tourism Industry and I just knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. He helped me apply for a scholarship at ITC and the rest is history. I studied right here at the Botany Campus in 2014 with a partial scholarship for Level 3 & 4 and graduated with Distinction.

What does your travel industry history look like?

Since graduating from ITC, I have progressed my way through the hotel Industry. I’ve worked front office in many 5 or 4 star properties around the North Island, from the Far North down to the Tongariro National Park and places in between before taking the leap of moving overseas.

Living in the UK also made it much easier to live out my dream of travelling around Europe, and I was fortunate enough to visit many countries before a little thing called Coronavirus closed borders and sent me back home to New Zealand.

That didn’t deter me though, and I have continued working as front office staff back here in New Zealand until my most recent role as the Assistant Front Office Manager at a luxury lodge in Northland.

How will your experience help support students?

Being a former student of this very campus, I have been in their shoes. I know what it was like to study at ITC and the unique challenges that come with being a student while living out of home for the first time.

It can be extremely overwhelming at times and I’m hoping to be a friendly ear that they can always come to for advice.

What do you think are the most important skills to have in the tourism industry?

Time management, flexibility and a can-do attitude! The tourism industry is an ever changing experience and it’s rare that any two days are the same – being able to adapt to each situation is key. Empathy also goes a long way, especially when you are customer facing. You never know when going the extra mile or showing a bit of extra kindness to someone can turn their day around for the better.

What’s next for tourism industry?

I really think that the last few years gave everyone time to reflect on what they wanted out of life, and for a lot of people it only fuelled their wanderlust further.

Working within the hotel industry during the pandemic showed me how much people do value taking some time out for themselves, and enquiries were still really high from locals exploring their own backyard. Now that the borders are all open again it’ll be exciting to see how that translates into international enquiries.

What is your best advice for those getting into the industry now?

Take your time, from personal experience I wanted to hit the ground running as soon as I was qualified and ended up feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be… when in reality I was only just starting out and had soo much ahead of me to experience. Good things take time!

Learn from incredible course advisors like Kimi-Ora with ITC!

Kimi-Ora is a fantastic example of the amazing talent and experience we have on the team at ITC and Study From Home. Everyone on our team has real-world industry experience, a passion for travel and tourism, and a drive to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions, or enrol today!

Study From Home – college@itc.co.nz 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or https://www.studyfromhome.co.nz/contact-us/

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Meet Louise Swann: Tourism guru and ITC’s newest Course Advisor

Posted on 18/10/2022 by

Louise Swann is ITC and Study From Home’s new Course Advisor.

All of the team members at ITC and Study From Home have a genuine passion for travel and tourism, with countless years of experience in the industry. We believe that’s vital if we’re going to train the next generation in how to work in travel and tourism.

With our newest team member Louise Swann (or Lulu), we’re bringing in decades of experience. But not just that, we’re welcoming back a student who graduated 20 years ago, spent that entire time travelling the world, meeting people, and gaining experience in the industry.

Now, Lulu is back at ITC as a brand new Course Advisor, and is ready to share her wealth of experience and relentless energy and passion for tourism with students.

We asked her a little more about how it all began and what she’s been up to over the past two decades. Here’s what she had to say!

How did you begin your passion for the tourism industry?

My passion began for the industry when I first set foot on an Air New Zealand aircraft in 1973, we were off to Samoa to see family and friends. I loved every minute, the excitement of travel exceeded my expectations. From the moment we arrived, there were lovely welcoming friendly staff, so helpful, and nothing was a problem. The crew stayed at the family Hotel Aggie Greys, so we had an incredible time with them showing off the beautiful island waterfalls and swimming with the turtles and blow holes. I knew then I had to work in the industry, it was absolutely my first love.

What does your travel industry history look like?

My travel industry history began when I was a student here at ITC 20 years ago, when I graduated armed with Level 3 & 4 Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

My first job in Auckland tourism was amazing – it was the America’s Cup. The city was buzzing with tourism and I booked people on boat trips to see the race from private yachts to Fuller Cruises, and helped book their accommodation ranging from hotels, motels, backpackers. We got to experience it ourselves which was rewarding. I also booked transport on land and sea nationwide, adventures such as AJ Hackett Bungy, Auckland Bridge Climb, Canyoning down waterfalls (Coromandel), and Skydiving (Mercer/Taupo). Each day was an adventure.

I joined Air New Zealand and worked for 18 months in reservations before commencing my flying career as a domestic flight attendant showcasing our passion for Aotearoa. This included operating flights to Australia and the Pacific Rim. I later trained as a long-haul flight attendant, trained on 6 different Aircrafts exploring USA, North and South America. We also went to Asia Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Korea to name a few. The world was literally my office – the views at 30,000 ft are remarkable, my wildest dreams had suddenly became reality! I loved meeting new crew and people everywhere I went. I gained lifelong friendships.

The last aircraft I trained on was the B787 standard and B787-9 Aircraft. These wowed the public with a new and exciting experience, desired mood lighting and leather seats. It was an honour to be part of an everchanging industry that never sleeps but continues to strive to be the very best in everything, from service focus on operational surety, to health and safety and on-time performance.

I have to tell you that my highlight with Air New Zealand was joining the Legacy team of Management & staff on an expedition to climb Mt Everest! This is where I found my spiritual place on our beautiful planet!

How will your experience help support students?

I love sharing my experience with students as I can give them firsthand experience of what it is like to have ”The day and the life of a flight attendant.” You must be passionate, you must be proud and dedicated, love challenging yourself, as every second counts. It is a daily surprise, it is a demanding role, that will push you to your full potential!

I am your Course adviser for today, who knows what the future brings, I am ready for any challenge, if it dares to present itself.

Get taught by the best

At ITC and Study From Home, our tutors, advisors, and team members all share a love of travel and tourism. We’re so lucky to have Louise join the team, and when you give ITC a call to talk about course options and where they might take you, she will be the one answering the phone and chatting through it all.

She’s energetic, so friendly, and as a past student who has enjoyed an incredible career as a flight attendant, she’s perfectly qualified to help direct new students. So get in touch today to say hello, and learn about where ITC and Study From Home can take you.

Study From Home – college@itc.co.nz 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or https://www.studyfromhome.co.nz/contact-us/

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