We have travel jobs in the UK for South Africans

Looking for a travel job in the UK? As former South African travel professionals now living and working in the UK, we see the differences in a travel job in the UK vs South Africa and have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help you with the decision on whether to work in the UK.

Do I have to have a British passport or visa to apply?

While there is demand for South African travel professionals, UK companies will not sponsor a work visa. There is a lot of talent available in Europe and the UK so if you do not have a British or EU passport, a spousal visa or can apply for an ancestral visa, there is not much point in applying for a position or registering your interest with Progressive Travel Recruitment.

If you qualify for an ancestral visa, you can find information on how to apply for it here.

What kind of travel roles are available for South African travel professionals seeking opportunities in the UK?

South African travel agents are in high demand for business travel jobs because of their GDS skills as most travel agents in the UK don’t require this skill.  Opportunities also exist for safari or Africa experts, but only if you have worked for some of the leading luxury safari tour operators in South Africa, like Go2Africa and Rhino Africa, for example. Just because you have lived in South Africa, you do not automatically have the knowledge to be an expert.

Passion and the determination to succeed are also key. UK travel companies are looking for hard workers, loyal staff members and professionals who are keen to learn and develop, friendly and have a good sense of humour.

How is working in the UK different to working in SA?

The cost-of-seat model that we see in South Africa is not common in the UK, but travel consultants’ performance is monitored and measured based on KPIs, which include conversion and profit performance.

Travel and tourism qualifications are also given less credence than actual work experience and companies look at what you have achieved, and your travel experience, over a qualification.

There are certain cultural differences that need to be considered. For example, although the work hours in South Africa are longer, travel consultants often do not need to work on the weekend, whereas in the UK this is commonplace, especially in leisure travel.

There are a lot more career progression opportunities for travel consultants who do well in the UK and candidates get head-hunted for their experience more than they would in South Africa.

Finally, it is important to note that although the cost of living is higher, salaries in the UK are much better than in South Africa.

If you qualify to work in the UK, contact fellow South African, Lee van Staden, to register your interest or visit our website.


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