Sense of duty

Along with the increasing popularity of adventure travel and ecotourism comes a heightened sense of responsibility toward those destinations being developed for tourism.

Tom Hall, co-founder of Atlanta-based Tanzanian Adventures, along with his brother Charles, has made it a mission to share company profits with the country he came to love during his Peace Corps stint in Africa some 15 years ago.

The 3-year-old tour operator focuses on selling travel to Tanzania for travelers with a range of budgets.

www.tanzanianadv.com."I was a teacher and have always had a soft spot for education," Hall said. "Tanzania doesn't have enough teachers, schools, books or computers, so we decided to create a foundation to help with whatever is needed."

To that end, the company donates a percentage of its profits -- usually ranging from 5% to 10% in a given year -- to selected schools, Hall said.

He also pointed out that all segments of the tourism industry pay fees, which go to the Tanzanian government to bolster the local economy.

"The government tries to make local people appreciate the animals so they don't resort to poaching, for example, by making it profitable for them [to comply]," he said.

This is especially important for people who live in close proximity to the animals, which sometimes come out of the national parks onto their farms, Hall said.

"Some farmers wouldn't think twice about shooting an elephant that has eaten their food and trampled their crops" without the economic incentive provided by tourism, he said.

As to the destination, Hall touted its beauty, diversity and wildlife as well as the restraint shown by the government in development.

"Tanzania has taken advice from environmental organizations and has strict policies about construction," he said.

Ngorongoro Crater, for example, with some four or five lodges around the rim offering about 700 beds, already has reached its construction limit, according to Hall.

Tanzanian Adventures derives about 90% of its bookings from travel agents and pays commissions starting at 12%.

New job-posting site

If you're looking for a travel industry job -- or you're seeking good potential employees -- check out Traveljobz.net, a new on-line job and resume posting board.

This Sarasota, Fla.-based company enables job candidates to search from a national base of both agent and supplier positions.

You can conduct a targeted search allowing for a wide range of specific choices by industry sector, job type and state, with additional options for keyword searches.

The Traveljobz.net home page.If you post your resume (a free service), you can immediately apply for jobs on line; you'll also be listed in the site's database, with your resume available for viewing by potential employers.

Resumes can even be posted anonymously, and interested employers can contact you via your e-mail address, which will be shown as an untitled link.

If you're looking for job candidates, it costs $50 to post each position for 30 days.

Potential candidates are told to e-mail you directly if interested in your positions.

Volume-posting discounts are also available.

Employers also can post jobs anonymously to the site. Job candidates will still be able to e-mail their resumes to them via "untitled" e-mail links.

For more information, call (941) 366-8040.

An introductory course

In the June 8 issue of Travel Weekly, I discussed creating or updating your agency letter of introduction ("Put it in Writing").

When you sit down to prepare your letter, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it to one page with three parts. The first should outline services, and the interchangeable second section should either be generic regarding vacation travel or specific to the market you are targeting.
  • Lucy Hirleman.The closing section should repeat important services and tell the reader why you stand out from the competition.

    Remember that your "competition" is not necessarily another agency or the Internet; I consider my competition to be any high-priced product a consumer might choose over a vacation.

  • Carefully proofread your letter. Spell-check is good but not foolproof. Have other people review the letter and provide feedback.
  • Using a word-processing program will keep things organized. Create a folder with the basic letter in one file and "middle" sections in separate files. When you need a new letter, just cut and paste.
  • What locale or market do you want to target? Almost every city and town has local phone directories with anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand names. Usually, they are published by schools or religious, civic and local organizations.
  • Club membership directories are also a great source, enabling you to target a specific group such as seniors.

  • Start small, think big. You don't have to go through an entire directory in a week. If you or your staff are too busy, consider hiring a student on a temporary basis to do all of the copying, stuffing and addressing for an entire directory or organization. And be sure to include business cards in each letter.
  • Lucy Hirleman, CTC, MCC, owns Berkshire Travel in Newfoundland, N.J. Contact her at [email protected]; fax: (973) 208-1204.

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