Travel and Tourism Specialist

Career Diploma

Program Outline

Penn Foster College’s online Travel and Tourism Specialist program can help you prepare for a job through gaining relevant knowledge and skills such as using a reservation system, arranging all modes of transportation for travel, booking hotels, recommending popular tourist destinations, and more.

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 access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this 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 clients
  • 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



The Travel Professional
Start your journey to an exciting career as a travel professional by exploring the fascinating world of travel and tourism.


  • Learn the language of travel professionals.
  • Review the businesses, associations, and agencies that make up the travel industry.
  • Study the different categories of travel.
  • Define the common types of travelers.

North American Air Travel, Part 1
Airline travel is one of the largest subsectors of the travel industry. Learn how deregulation changed the airline industry.


  • Examine basic airline operations.
  • Review U.S. geography, and learn computer reservation systems (CRS) codes.
  • Understand how to interpret basic information and flight schedules in a computer reservation system (CRS).

North American Air Travel, Part 2
Expand on your knowledge of air travel by examining domestic airfares, taxes, and surcharges, and the principles that govern how these components are constructed.


  • Complete airline tickets using basic airfare codes and itinerary pricing.
  • Learn how to process prepaid ticket advices (PTAs) and ticket refunds.

World Geography, Part 1
Study physical geography - the unique features that distinguish different regions of the world - by exploring the continents and five great oceans.


  • Use absolute measurements such as latitude and longitude to find locations on a map.
  • Learn how to tell time using the 24-hour clock system.
  • Be able convert time to different time zones.

World Geography, Part 2
Study the location geography - he study of where places are located in relation to one another - of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.


  • Discover all of the unique and interesting features found around the world.

International Air Travel
Build on what you've learned in earlier lessons by exploring international air travel.


  • Learn about various types of required travel documents, customs regulations, arrival and departure procedures.
  • Be able to convert US dollars to local currency utilizing foreign exchange rates.
  • Analyze how international airfares, taxes, and surcharges differ from those of domestic air travel.
  • Complete international airline tickets using codes for international airlines, cities, and airports.

Exploring the World, Part 1
Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in North America, Central America, and South America.


  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.

Exploring the World, Part 2
Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.

Exploring the World, Part 3
Learn the key tourism attractions and destinations in Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific.


  • Become knowledgeable of popular tourist destinations including cultural capitals, key resort areas, special-interest areas, and unique geographic features.
  • Determine the optimum travel times and best itineraries for travel to these areas.

Hotels and Resorts
Qualify clients to sell them the best hotel and resort accommodations.


  • Be able to distinguish between leisure and business clients.
  • Learn the types of hotels and hotel ownership structures, room rate plans, taxes, and service charges.
  • Explore career opportunities in hospitality.

Tours and Vacation Packages
Some clients want more than a simple trip from point A to point B. In this lesson, learn all about the benefits of tour and vacation packages.


  • Explore techniques for planning custom-made tours and vacations.
  • Review the steps for processing payment for these trips.

Dive right into the fascinating world of water travel.


  • Learn about the types of vessels and passenger markets.
  • Examine the typical fares, discounts, and additional costs of water travel, and the basic types of accommodations and dining services.
  • Explore the possible activities and excursions, and learn how to locate resources and brochures to sell cruises.

Rails and Cars
Learn about domestic and international car rental and rail companies.


  • Be able to explain and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of car rental versus rail travel.
  • Explore the basic route systems, fee structures, seating accommodations, booking and documentation procedures, and types of insurance.

Microsoft® Excel® 2019
In this course, you’ll learn about the most widely used spreadsheet program, Microsoft® Excel®. Excel® can perform numerical calculations and is also useful for non-numerical applications such as creating charts, organizing lists, accessing data, and automating tasks.


  • Use the basic elements of Microsoft® Excel®.
  • Add, delete, and sort data.
  • Create and use formulas, charts, and graphs.

Microsoft® Word™ 2019
Learn how to use Microsoft® Word™ to create, edit, and illustrate documents.


  • Create, edit, format, and merge Word™ documents.
  • Add graphics and tables.

Computerized Reservation Systems (CRS)
In this lesson, you'll examine the basic capabilities of a CRS.


  • Use a CRS to plan trips for your clients.
  • Analyze and apply these functions to a case study.

Travel and the Internet
In this lesson, you'll learn how to use the Internet to effectively market your travel agency online.


  • Attract clients to your website.
  • Plan the best trips for your clients by researching destinations and checking climate information and travel advisories.

CRS Training: Apollo® or Sabre®
Choose either Apollo® or Sabre,® and then complete hands-on training in a live online database-emulation for the CRS system of your choice.


  • Learn how to use Apollo® or Sabre® to make an airline, car, and hotel reservation.
  • Be able to determine airline fares and issue tickets.

Sales and Business Communication / Corporate and Group Travel
Learn the best ways to market and sell travel.


  • Learn the five basic steps of selling.
  • Review the elements of successful selling.
  • Explore techniques for qualifying clients, overcoming objections, and closing a sale.
  • Be able to draft and process after-sale documents, such as invoices and receipts.
  • Learn how to establish a corporate profile and draft requests for proposals (RFPs).
  • Analyze the dynamics of corporate and group travel.
  • Identify potential incentives of planning this type of travel.

Your Travel Career / Starting a Travel Agency
Jump-start your travel career by learning where to look for career opportunities.


  • Utilize techniques for writing an effective resume and cover letter.
  • Learn useful interview tips to help you land your dream travel job.
  • Explore various avenues for professional development and continuing education to build a successful and rewarding travel career.
  • Learn the key components of a business plan.
  • Be able to prepare a business plan.
  • Determine which licenses you'll need.
  • Understand how to determine the best location for your agency.
  • Review the major organizations that approve travel agencies.

TAP Certification Examination*
When you reach this lesson, you'll be given information that allows you to sit for the nationally recognized Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification exam. Developed by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Travel Institute, this exam measures the basic knowledge and proficiency of entry-level travel agents.

It's administered independently, so you'll find a complete information packet on your student page to make arrangements for this exam, which you'll complete in the form of a proctored exam. You'll select the location and the person you want to supervise the exam according to Penn Foster's established policies and qualifications.

* You must successfully complete this exam to graduate from this program.

Graduation Gift
When you graduate, you'll receive...

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

The Travel Institute Destination Specialist Course Certificate

After graduating, you'll receive a certificate to enroll, at no extra cost, in a Destination Specialist course at The Travel Institute. This course allows you to explore a personal interest area in greater detail and prepares you for the Destination Specialist certification exam. To earn designation as a specialist in that area, you must have at least 12 months of travel industry experience and pass the Destination Specialist exam. You may specialize in one of the following destination areas: Alaska, Caribbean, East Asia, European Culture and Heritage, France, Hawaii, India, Mexico, North America, Northern and Central Europe, South Pacific, Southern Europe, Spain, or St. Lucia.

The Travel Institute's courses also count as continuing education credits toward maintaining certification as a Certified Travel Associate (CTA), which is the second step of professional certification. To become certified as a CTA, professionals must pass the CTA exam and have 18 months of travel industry experience. Note: Professionals who have successfully completed the TAP exam and who wish to take the CTA exam need only 12 months of industry travel experience.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster College 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 College 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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