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Working in travel is a professional career choice not just a job!

Some refer to the fact that they don't have or require a degree and seem somewhat in awe of others who do.

I feel they undervalue the enormous amount of knowledge, skill and responsibility that comes with every role in the travel industry.

Travel consultants, for example, offer professional advice based on their knowledge, experience and training. They plan and structure, research, liaise, negotiate and calculate, providing consultations and recommendations. This is not unlike a financial planner and how much importance do we place on them?

Travel Consultants are responsible for 'getting it right' on how someone spends their hard earned dollars and precious leisure time.

Some people may think they can do the job of a travel consultant themselves, just like others think they are an expert health specialist or a builder, but in the end they are only amateurs. Sure they will do ok but what did they lose out on by not employing a trained professional? They will never know.

Many travellers will have regretted the decision to 'DIY' recently when stranded during the volcanic ash disaster. During this event the skills and professionalism of the travel industry were amazing, many working long hours to keep their clients informed and assist them with best options for reaching their destinations.

It is up to the travel industry to raise its own perception of itself. I am qualified, I am a professional. My consultation is worth paying for.

If we don't believe in our value how can we convince someone to buy from us.

Perhaps, along with our qualifications we should have a photo collage on our walls of every place we have travelled, our degree of first hand knowledge - invaluable. Would you agree?

Sandra Chiles