Travel and Tourism Specialist

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of 12 Instruction Sets designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll use in your new career.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams. You can earn your Career Diploma in as little as nine months.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later, Microsoft® Office 365, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To prepare students for entry-level employment in the travel and tourism field and to prepare for and take the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend details of accommodations, travel tickets, tours, and/or packages containing two or more passengers, and details of selling these elements to business/leisure clients
  • Understand the main categories of travel, including air, rail, cruise and lodging and interpret vendor information to arrange and book appropriate travel for client
  • Apply knowledge of travel costs including fees, taxes, discounts and other factors to calculate cost of travel accommodations for clients
  • Determine one’s own commission rate for any sold product using commissionable and non-commissionable fees
  • Prepare or request transportation carrier tickets, and book transportation and hotel reservations, using a computer reservation system
  • Comprehend international customs, points of interest, and foreign country regulations
  • Compare accommodations, tickets, itineraries and travel packages to determine which will better suit clients
  • Understand the process for starting a travel business including any professional development necessary to work in the travel field
  • Prepare for and take the comprehensive Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal. Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers. Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

The Travel Professional
Overview of travel and tourism industry; regulatory agencies; trade organizations; types of transportation companies; repetitive travel services: lodging, food, local attractions; the future of the travel industry; employment opportunities.

Instruction Set 2

North American Air Travel, Part 1
Basic terminology of air travel; computer reservation systems (CRS) codes; frequent-flyer programs; types of airlines and flights; classes of services; passenger services; meals; infant and child travel; health concerns; passenger's rights.

North American Air Travel, Part 2
Air fares, electronic rules, handling reservations over the phone; reservations terminology; flight services; flight schedule resources; fare-calculation principles; discounted fares; taxes and surcharges; airline ticketing; careers in the airline industry.

Instruction Set 3

World Geography, Part 1
Overview of geography; continents and oceans; latitude and longitude; time zones; maps; climate and weather.

World Geography, Part 2
Physical geography in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

International Air Travel
Requirements for international travel: passports, visas, tourist cards, immunizations, International Driver's Permit (IDP); customs regulations; money matters: market exchange rates, where to exchange, Value-Added Taxes (VAT); international arrival and departure procedures; international taxes and surcharges; international fare structures.

Learning Aid: World Atlas

Instruction Set 4

Exploring the World, Part 1
Key tourist destinations throughout the world: cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, unique geographical features; optimum travel times; planning an itinerary; covers North America, Central America, and South America.

Exploring the World, Part 2
Key tourist destinations throughout the world: cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, unique geographical features; optimum travel times; planning an itinerary; covers Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Exploring the World, Part 3
Key tourist destinations throughout the world: cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, unique geographical features; optimum travel times; planning an itinerary; covers Asia and the South Pacific.

Instruction Set 5

Hotels and Resorts
Leisure and business travel accommodations; types of hotels and affiliations; qualifying the traveler for the best accommodation; sources of information; automated reservations procedures.

Tours and Vacation Packages
Definitions of tour and vacation package components; who operates tours; types of tours; package benefits; selling tours; transmitting payments and documentation.

Instruction Set 6

Cruise industry terminology; types of vessels; passenger markets; prices and discounts; on-board staff; accommodations and dining; services, activities, and excursions; resources; selling cruises.

Rails and Cars
Car rentals, services and equipment; fee options; insurance; benefits of renting, qualifying clients; renting via computer; rail travel categories, seating and accommodations, client markets, booking, and documentation; rail services and requirements; major U.S. routes, fares, and schedules; rail lines in North America and throughout the world.

Learning Aid:  Official Steamship Guide International

Instruction Set 7

PC Basics
Hardware, software, and general PC capabilities.

Understanding Software
Hands-on, in-depth introduction to commonly used Windows®-based productivity software packages, including word processing, spreadsheet, and database packages.

Instruction Set 8

Computerized Reservations Systems (CRS)
Terminology; major players; selecting a CRS; communicating through CRS; required information and fields; passenger information and fares; automated ticketing.

Travel and the Internet
Browsers; search engines; service providers; useful sites; Internet vs. intranet; how travel agents and customers use the Internet.

Instruction Set 9

Complete training in the Apollo system via CD-Rom. Lessons covered include airline reservations, airline fares and ticketing, and car and hotel reservations.

Learning Aid: Apollo   

Instruction Set 10

Corporate and Group Travel
The corporate market: travel arrangements, meeting, and incentive events; corporate travel dynamics; corporate services provided by agency and suppliers; group business travel meetings and incentives; careers in corporate and group travel.

Sales and Business Communications
Selling travel, including niche marketing, telephone sales, and direct and cross-selling techniques; identifying and qualifying clients, overcoming objections, closing the sale, follow-up; written and oral communication skills; presentation skills.

Instruction Set 11

Your Travel Career
Jump-start your travel career; travel outlook, where to look for opportunities, typical pay structures, preparing a winning resume and cover letter; working as an outside agent; continuing education; certification levels.

Your Travel Agency
Functions of the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC); the Industry Agent's Handbook, requirements for opening an agency, agency and airline identification plates; commission structure; area settlement plan.

Instruction Set 12

Travel Agency Proficiency (TAP) Certification Examination
Completion of the Travel and Tourism Specialist Proficiency (TAP) examination allows you to use the TAP designation. We will provide you with a certificate allowing you to sit for the nationally recognized Travel and Tourism Specialist Proficiency (TAP) certification examination. This examination was developed by the American Society of Travel and Tourism Specialists (ASTA) and The Travel Institute, and is administered independently. You must successfully complete this examination to graduate from this program.

You will take this test in the form of a proctored exam. You select the location and the person you want to supervise the exam, as long as they meet the Penn Foster established policy and qualifications. A complete information packet will be provided well in advance.

Graduation Set
(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

The Travel Institute Destination Specialist Course Certificate
The Travel Institute's courses count as continuing education credits toward the CTA certification exam. Nationally recognized, these programs allow you to explore a personal interest area in great detail, and designate yourself as a specialist in that area. Select your destination area from the following: Alaska, Caribbean, European Culture and Heritage, France, Hawaii, India, Mexico, North America, Northern and Central Europe, Southern Europe, Spain, St. Lucia.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

A High School Diploma, Secondary School Diploma, or equivalent is required to enroll in this program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

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