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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 – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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Meet Michelle Newsome: ITC’s newest team member!

Posted on 09/02/2022 by

Michelle Newsome has recently joined the ITC Schools Team, bringing with her a wealth of travel knowledge and experience.

Michelle Newsome is ITC’s newest team member, joining the Schools Team as a Tourism Educator.

And it only takes a moment hearing about her background or her passion for the industry to see why she’s the perfect fit for the role.

From the historic sites of Europe to nomadic safaris in Queenstown, Michelle has seen (and worked) it all. So we sat down for a quick introduction.

What does your travel industry history look like?

I’ve been working in tourism in a variety of roles for the past 10 years. I started out as a trip leader for Topdeck in Europe where I led and guided coach tours of amazing young people around the continent.

I absolutely loved that job, it required a balance of high energy and enthusiasm, knowledge and organisation to keep everything running smoothly. I am a bit of a history nerd so being able to show off the beautiful historic sites of Europe was a dream job for me.

Back in Aotearoa New Zealand I have used those skills learnt overseas to show off my own stunning country.

I became a Driver-Guide for Wellington movie tours and later Nomad Safaris in Queenstown which gave me the opportunity to fully embrace my love of the Lord of the Rings films.

After a year at Flight Centre, which opened my eyes to the sales and reservations world behind the tours I had been running, I jumped at the chance to work for one of the premium tour companies operating here in Aotearoa, Australian Pacific Touring (APT).

I was still working out on the road for them as one of their senior guides when lockdown was announced in 2020. Since then I’ve kept busy working in operations and reservations for a coach transport company.

How will your experience help support students?

I hope that my industry experience can really help show the students the kind of opportunities that are available and the amazing possibilities that are out there for those looking to make a career in tourism.

Being a tour guide requires enthusiasm and the ability to relate to and connect to others. I would love to bring this into the learning environment here at ITC and give the students the support they need to succeed, and hopefully even continue with their studies here at ITC.

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

Working in tourism requires so many skills that are transferable from and to other careers.

Customer service is surely the main one, without that you won’t get far.

Being willing and able to help people, be open to new ideas and patient in dealing with people. Passion and enthusiasm for what you’re doing is super important, it shines through when you enjoy your job and that excitement is contagious.

What’s next for tourism industry?

The tourism industry is at a really challenging yet exciting stage, as this pandemic has forced those in the industry to re-evaluate the direction we are heading.

I think while the borders are closed to international visitors it’s a great opportunity to focus tourist experiences on the local market and cater towards those exploring their own backyard.

I hope that when borders open those resilient companies that have worked through this tough time will present visitors with a new and refreshed product offering something different in an innovative way or from a fresh perspective.

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

This is a great time to look at entering the tourism industry and gain a qualification which can lead towards a great career.

Moving forward, employers will be looking for workers with experience and knowledge, and a qualification in tourism will really give a prospective employee an edge – so go get studying!

The best advice I can give is to get experience in customer service, any job to go along with study. Retail or hospitality work will give such a good base to add to in any future tourism job.

My background before entering the tourism industry was in retail where you learn to interact with a wide range of people and gain excellent communication and people skills.

Start your journey in travel and tourism

Are you ready for an incredible career that takes you around the world like Michelle has done? Do you want to work for some of New Zealand’s coolest attractions?

ITC and Study From Home offer the first step on that path – an industry recognised series of qualifications that will help to get you a foot in the door at countless travel and tourism providers around New Zealand and the world.

Get in touch today to hear about our courses and where they can take you.

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or



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Introducing Victoria Whittaker: ITC and Study From Home’s newest course advisor

Posted on 27/01/2022 by

Victoria Whittaker is ITC and Study From Home’s newest course advisor, bringing with her a wealth of experience in the industry.

ITC and Study From Home recently welcomed Victoria Whittaker to the team. She’s a keen traveller with years of experience in the industry, and she has just started working as a part-time course advisor.

Between her experience, passion for travel, and love of sharing all of that with the next generation looking to enter the industry, she’s the perfect person to help guide our students through their studies.

We had a quick chat with Victoria to learn more about her career in tourism and travel, what she thinks are the most important skills for graduates these days, and where she thinks the industry is headed next.

Welcome to the team! Can you tell us a little about your history working in the travel industry?

It’s great to be onboard with ITC. I started working in the travel industry in 1999 when I landed my first job with Air NZ as ground staff at the Blenheim Airport. It was fantastic, great bunch of people, I got to know the pilots, and the baggage guys were great, it was a real joy going to work.

Even got to meet Sean Fitzpatrick!! (All Black legend).

After 6 months in this role, I had an opportunity to apply for cabin crew with Air NZ. This was the role I had always dreamed of, so I went for it. Unbeknown to me when I went for my interview that the role was for International Cabin Crew which was even better. I started this role later in 1999, I met my now best friend on my training course.

I flew for 6 years in total, 4 years out of Auckland and 2 years out of the Air NZ London Base at Heathrow. It was always about the feel good experience for the customer, as most of the people on our flights were going off on exciting holidays, or away for business, so it was always important to make sure that their whole experience was a wonderful one.

How do you think that experience will help you support students?

I enjoy sharing my experiences, and I will always have time for any student who wishes to learn more, and seeks advice.

What do you think are the most important skills anyone can have in the travel and tourism industry?

Kindness, patience, and a need to want to give the best service. I think you need to have a real passion for this industry and if you do, this will really show.

What do you think is next for travel and tourism?

I think travel and tourism will come back even bigger and better once we learn to live with Covid. People who love to travel are itching to get back out there, and our young people of today will be really ready to spread their wings. I don’t think, well, I hope that these last 2 years hasn’t put people off travelling. It certainly hasn’t put me off.

What’s your best advice for students looking to get into the industry right now?

Set yourself a goal, keep focused on it, work hard and when you land your dream job, have a good work ethic, and just enjoy every day. If you can find a job that you love, then it’s not really a job.

Are you ready to be part of the team and learn from Victoria? It’s never too late to get started at ITC and Study From Home. Get in touch to find out more about our courses and how to enrol today.

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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