How To Become Travel Agent In South Africa

A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism-related services to the general public on behalf of accommodation or travel suppliers to offer different kinds of travelling packages for each destination. 


What is the role of a travel agent?

Travel agents help their clients make travel plans. In addition to booking reservations, they assist customers in choosing their destination, transportation, and lodging and inform travelers of passport and visa requirements, rates of currency exchange, and import duties.

What are your role and duties as travel operator?

One of the main duties of a tour operator is developing tour packages and itineraries for a variety of individual clients and groups. In developing tour packages, tour operators select attractions, accommodations, and transportation options that tourists can then choose for visits of varying lengths and budgets.

What products do travel agents provide?

Travel agents offer a wide range of products and services, they fall under eight categories: information on holidays and travel, booking traditional package holidays, booking a tailor-made holiday or a dynamic package holiday, ancillary services/sale, booking flights – Scheduled and charter and booking accommodation.

Below are steps To Become Travel Agent In South Africa

Becoming a travel agent requires a certain level of education and training, and some may need to obtain certifications before they can begin working. Follow these steps if you’re considering a career as a travel agent:

1. Get formal training

Most travel agents need at least a high school diploma, but some college education can help you gain essential knowledge in areas such as tourism, best business practices, international affairs and marketing. You’ll need comprehensive knowledge either firsthand or through a degree program in these areas to provide your clients with travel plans and advice.

You could also pursue a travel agent certification to show your expertise to clients and potential travel agency employers. For example, The Travel Institute offers the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, which you can take to demonstrate your skills and qualifications as an accomplished travel agent.

After a few years of experience, you can take additional exams with The Travel Institute or similar organizations to earn more advanced certifications, such as becoming a Certified Travel Associate (CTA).

2. Develop your interpersonal skills

Part of a travel agent’s success depends on the ability to interact with others, whether it’s done by phone calls, emails or in-person meetings. Effective communication and interpersonal skills will help you gain and retain loyal clients, which is especially important if you plan to work independently and not for an agency.

Developing your soft skills so you can follow up on questions or communicate changes in a timely manner will also help you more easily negotiate with hotels and similar businesses to get the best deals for your clients.

3. Research planning and budgeting techniques

As a travel agent, your clients depend on you to help them save the most money possible while they travel. This is why it’s useful to research deals on local hotels, cruises, flights or events that may be offering special prices.

If you work for an agency, you’ll likely receive on-the-job training that shows how to quickly find the best deals for clients and make the best reservations for their value. It may be useful to get this experience before starting your own business.

4. Grow your travel industry knowledge

Vacation spots and your clients’ itinerary priorities will change over time, so it’s useful to keep a current and growing knowledge of new developments in the field. It can also help to continue taking courses specifically designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of the tourism industry.

In addition to the TAP test, The Travel Institute offers courses in subjects like geography and itinerary planning that equip you with the knowledge to plan memorable trips for your clients. These courses can be especially useful if you plan to specialize in one area of travel.

How to start a Travel Agency business in South Africa

Firstly let’s take look at what travel agency is? A travel agency is a travel business that sells the temporary use of accommodation, guided tours, cruises, adventures holidays, car hire reservations and online booking services to the public. The retail travel agency business provides various options for operating a business.

The three sectors to this industry are

Retail travel agency ( service providers who charge mark- up fee for their professional services)

Wholesalers (selling bulk product to retailers) and

Tour operators (handle group travel).

Policy and Requirements

If you intend on selling air travel tickets through a retail travel agency, a Diploma in International Air Travel Association (IATA) diploma.

This is the benchmark for the travel industry, and provides credibility to deal with suppliers and partners in the travel Industry Membership with a professional body like ASATA (Association of South African Travel Agents) is advisable as it will ensure that service standards adhered to, membership also inspires confidence and integrity of the travel agent and his/her business.

Business Structure and Legal Issues

The formal requirements for operating a business in South Africa, is to firstly register the business entity as either a Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Private Company (Propriety Limited) Close Corporation (cc) or as a (Pty) Ltd Company.

The Business name, trade mark, the type of business. And any other patents have to be registered with the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) in order to start operating the business and to register on government database as a service provider.

Advice may also be obtained from institutions like the SEDA (small enterprise development Agency) and the NYDA (National Youth Development Agency) on how to structure your business.

Marketing and Advertising

The Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) can be approached to register your business into the provincial tourism database which provides information to the public about tourism facilities and services that are available in the province.

Businesses are also encouraged to promote their businesses on social media platforms (Linkedin, Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Google Adwords). Traditional media in the form of Radio, Television and Print Media can also be used to promote the business.

Financial Issues

In terms of applying for financial assistance to Fund your business venture. The financial institutions require a comprehensive business to detail how you intend on managing the risk of running a business.

The business plan should include:

•Executive summary – summarizes and provides an overview of the document.
• Overview of the business – describes the business, the vision and mission, the legal structure of the entity.•

Industry analysis – trends demand outlook, barriers to entry and growth, impact of innovation and technology, impact of economy, government and financial health of the industry.

Market analysis – understanding your target market, its demographics •

Marketing strategy – details how you plan to sell your products/services, how you plan to promote your product/services in an effort to attract potential customers. The strategy describes your product, the pricing methods used, how you plan to distribute you product/services and in which locations, also
includes the different marketing communication tools (e.g.PR, Advertising, Events and sponsorships) that will enable you to reach your potential customers.•

Management and operations plan – organizational structure, roles and
responsibilities , and support (professional services)

Strategic implementation plan – staff, staffing issues, systems, communication, bookkeeping, equipment, software, office, furniture, fixtures, land and buildings, research and development.

Financial plan – Is there to provide a reliable and detailed financial breakdown of costs, revenue, profit, cash-flow projections

Supporting documentation and supporting documentation – any research from primary and secondary research sources that provide a factual basis for the business plan.

Tourism Support and Resources

1. Southern Africa Tourism Services Association – represents major role players including airlines, coach operators, tour operators, accommodation establishments, car hire companies and more

2. Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa – aim is to facilitate access to markets for disadvantaged tourism enterprises.

3. Tourism Grading Council of South Africa – is responsible for the star grading system to ensure improvement and high standards across all areas of the tourism industry.

How much do travel agents earn in South Africa?

The average salary for a South African Travel Agent is ±R115,000.00 annually. Salaries can also climb as high as ±R600,000.00 a year with accrued experience and positions held at premium agencies.

What qualification do I need to be a travel agent?

Level 1 Certificate/Diploma Introduction to the Travel and Tourism Industry. Level 1/2 Certificate in Travel and Tourism. Level 2 Award in Principles of Customer Service in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism. Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

How do I get a travel agency license in South Africa?

To operate a transport business in the tourism sector:

Apply for Road Transportation Permit from the Department of Transport. The application must be made to the Local Transportation Board.

Apply for Professional Drivers Permit.

Get a qualified tour guide to travel with tourists when they get to South Africa.

Do travel agents get paid well in South Africa ?

The BLS currently lists the average travel agent salary as R 685450.68with a range of R 358293.31and R 1064756.91dividing the lower to upper 10% of travel agents. These results are similar to our most recent income report. We found an average income of R 679652.96 for hosted travel agents with 3+ years experience.

How much does a travel agent earn in a month?

The highest salary for a a Travel Agent in India is ₹46,281 per month. What is the lowest salary for a a Travel Agent in India? The lowest salary for a a Travel Agent in India is ₹13,015 per month.

Do I need to study to become a travel agent?

Travel agencies tend to hire agents with some training applicable to the field. You can take travel agency courses at a two-year college, or earn a diploma, certificate, or associate degree in travel or tourism.

Where can I study to become a travel agent in South Africa?


False Bay TVET College. National Certificate: Tourism N4-N6.

Alt. Academy.

Oxbridge Academy. National Certificate: N4 – N6 Tourism.

University of Johannesburg. National Diploma: Tourism Management.

Durban University of Technology.

Tshwane University of Technology.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology.


How long is a travel agent course?

Hosts responses to how long their education program takes ranged from one day to 6 months (for a coaching program). Many hosts have self-paced programs. The consortia programs listed (in the link above) range from 30-50min. Per training module, to 12 weeks.