Tourism Internship Tips

Tourism internships are a great chance to get excellent insights into the tourism industry and extremely valuable experience. This is a particularly tough commercial industry, cash driven and highly competitive. Every successful tourist industry operator is by definition a survival expert. The business knowledge alone is valuable to interns in this industry.

This is one of the biggest industries in the world. Tourism is an industry which involves consumerism in its truest form, pure discretionary spending. All tourism operations in any particular place are interrelated. Some are in direct competition, but the service industry, tours, and accommodation all function as part of this economic process. Your internship will give you an excellent view of how the industry works.

Internships also provide good quality training and experience in the specific areas of the employer's business, providing portable job skills and references.

Finding tourism internships

There are usually a very large number of internships available. These internships are offered in all types of tourism operations. Unlike other commercial and business internships, having a lot of choices in possible areas of work is a definite positive in tourism. There are many different types of business in tourism, but the market itself is essentially a single stream, with many common elements.

When looking for tourism internships, keep your mind open to the possibilities. Tour operators, for example, may operate bus tours, boat tours, chartered plane tours, or hiking tours, but they are all based on very similar commercial principles. They all operate on a cost/value basis, and their businesses are in that sense very similar. This experience is transferable across all these types of tourism operations.

Interview preparation and questions

The type of business is the primary issue in internship interviews. Internship interviews are often a mix of basic job interviews and career entry level interviews. Interview preparation requires you to research the employer's business in depth. You need to be well informed and fully conversant with the business, both for your own purposes as an intern and to be competitive at the interview. Interview questions will cover these areas:

  • Training and education: These qualifications may make you a very good candidate for the internship. Emphasize any relevant qualifications during the interview.
  • Relevant work experience: Retail, customer service, accounts, hospitality industry experience, catering, kitchen, and similar work are all very useful credentials in the tourism industry. Give examples of your experience which are obviously relevant to the internship.
  • Business knowledge and skills: Business management and administration are common areas for tourism internships. 
  • Occupational Health and Safety: Tourism, as a consumer based industry, works directly with the public. Your knowledge of OHS, as it applies to the tourist operation, must be up to standards.
  • Communications skills: You must be a good communicator in tourism, particularly in any public contact role. Make sure that your interview answers are well expressed, and clear, to give yourself a competitive advantage. Give examples of your communications skills from prior experience or academic examples.