Elin Janson, Alumna of the Tourism programme
What do you do today?
“I am a travel consultant and salesperson at Specialresor in Karlstad. I am responsible for Ireland, Paris and the Champagne region. I work on all of the tours we offer to these places, put together packages, organise guides and work with our agents on location. I also present lectures on these destinations and sell our tours to our clients. We mainly work with corporate clients, for example with customer care tours, staff tours and association tours. We have long worked with banks all over Sweden, but we have also organised tours with different newspapers and associations. We for instance organise themed tours on food and drink, and inspirational tours for different companies.”
Why did you choose the Tourism programme?
“I have long worked in the hotel and restaurant branch, travelled a lot and have worked and lived abroad. When I came back to Sweden, I quite simply wanted to expand my knowledge and complement my experiences with theory to develop my skills. I also saw the programme as a way of improving my chances in a competitive job market. At the time, I did not realise how much it would mean to me and my personal development.”
“During my studies, I did a practical placement in South Africa and wrote my bachelor thesis on the Seychelles. The placement in South Africa really interested me in the country as a whole, and specifically in Cape Town. I made contacts there, and after graduating I moved there to work as a travel consultant. At first I almost volunteered, but this was not financially sustainable. After a tip from a woman I met on a place, I found a job at a travel agency. I worked in Sweden for some time and learned more about the company, and then I moved back to Cape Town to establish their South African office. After a few years I felt ready to move back to Sweden, and now I work at Specialresor.
Have you benefitted from your studies?
“I am extremely proud of my education, and it has meant so much in my working life! It is a broad programme that gives you a holistic understanding of tourism. This knowledge has given me security, which has helped a lot. All the course have been useful; sometimes it is difficult, but in the end you realise that you do need finances, communication, project management and so on. The programme is designed to allow you to choose a specialisation. I am more interested in production, but I also have knowledge of how tourism works in society. My university education has been very important and I have developed skills in critical thinking, analysis, working in groups and a lot more.”
Do you have any tips for students who consider applying to the Tourism programme?
“From the first semester, you should make the most of the opportunities you get through your studies and take all the chances to start your career. Specialise a bit; decide which companies seem interesting and what you want to focus on in your career. I can definitely recommend practical placements and studying abroad. I applied for a Minor Field Studies grant, and that’s the best thing I’ve done!”
What does the future hold?
“I’m very happy to back in Sweden after so many years abroad. And I’m happy that Specialresor and I have found each other. Now my focus is on my work here – developing new tour concepts, expansion and change. I’m really psyched! Today there’s more interest in and a need for sustainable tourism and travelling. Tourism has both destroyed and build up many things around the world. As a company, we clearly have a responsibility to work sustainably in different ways.”