Travel and Tourism instructor Christiane and her students

Travel & Tourism Webinar with Christiane Ah-Chuen

Missed our webinar with travel and tourism instructor Christiane and her students Mia and Gustavo? You can still view the full webinar on our Facebook page at, or continue reading for a quick summary!

Introducing Christiane and her students

Christiane was born in Mauritius, on the east coast of Africa, a beautiful island with nice beaches and mountains. She went on her first trip was when she was 3 years old when her parents took her to Canada and England.

“My first job was when I was going to university in Toronto I was taking Economics as my major and working part time at the Holiday Inn reservations call centre, so I think that’s where I got the first taste of travel, tourism, and hospitality, and when I first got my travel bug. When I was at the Holiday Inn I was able to stay for free at several hotels but I also got a chance to travel as part of the program; airfare included, pocket money, and free accommodation. After that I worked for Air Canada Jazz for about 7 years. While I worked for the airline, I had a lot of opportunities to travel of course on passes. After that I worked for about 10 years with Flight Centre, I started out at Flight Centre Toronto as a travel consultant, and then I was promoted to shop manager for a few years and I moved over to head office, where I worked as a recruiter, leadership trainer and moneywise advisor. So I got quite a lot of experience there especially when it came to sales and meeting targets and being a leader and managing people. My other experiences were at Transat distribution centre where I worked as a recruitment and training specialist, again in HR, at Odenza Vacations as a vacation consultant, and at Rocky Mountaineer, where I had the chance to take 2 amazing trips through the Rockies. I also supported a group of about 18 travel agents from Quebec, that was crazy and a lot of fun. And also I worked at Travel Best Bets, their retail location in Kitsilano. And finally, now I am at CTC where I combine my passions of travel and tourism.”

Christiane’s students are:

Mia, a student in the travel and tourism business management diploma program. Mia started last June and will be finishing the program in June 2020. She is from the Philippines.

Gustavo, who is also taking tourism but is in the certificate program. He is Brazilian, and has been in Canada for 4 years.

Why CTC?

Christiane: So you might wonder why CTC. Well, we’ve been around for almost 40 years. We have a 5-star endorsement by ACTA, which is the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, which is the highest rating. We have a great reputation, and we have a lot of amazing instructors here. Lori is the other travel and tourism instructor in Vancouver and she has tons of experience. And then at the Surrey campus, we have Jeff and Daniel. Daniel is actually a chef who also worked at Air Canada as a trainer and Jeff owned his own restaurant at one time and also worked as a tour manager at Colette.

Programs and Courses

Christiane: We have a diploma program with co-op that’s about 98 weeks so that’s about 2 years. Students, after they finish the school part, have a chance to get paid work experience in the travel and tourism industry. A lot of our students afterwards do continue to stay with the same company that they’ve done their co-op with. [Gustavo: “I hope so!] If you choose the program without the co-op it’s going to be about a year long.

We have a variety of courses that we offer as part of our program. Which one is your favourite?

Gustavo: I can say definitely anything related to airline industry, so even Amadeus, Saber, I really enjoy this, for me it’s really good to actually study something that you will see in your industry.

Mia: My favourite would be the tour guiding for sure, because we actually did our tour bus guiding and got to experience how to be a tour guide, so we went to the Vancouver Public Library, and we did commentary for 2 minutes. And also the group travel design. Where we get to make our own itinerary for specific clients. So it was fun. And the best one is we have to make our own brochure and logo.

Christiane: Some of the other courses include world destinations, where we learn about many countries in the world, their currency, is there a visa required, about the food and drinks, about the attractions, about accommodations, where we learn about hotel, hospitality, marine transportation and cruises, lots of fun stuff. We also have career days, and field trips outside the classroom. [Mia: they’re my favourite!] We also have some Microsoft office programs as well; Word, Excel, Powerpoint.

Trip to Europe

Students in Versailles

Christiane: Of course we’re going to talk about our trip to Europe. I believe we are the only travel college in Canada that has a field trip to Europe that is part of the program. So Mia and I were there in September.

Mia: We stayed in London for 2 days, and then 5 days in Paris. In London we went to a Red Carnation hotel which is a 5-star luxury hotel in London. Then we got to meet the owner of Red Carnation.

Christiane: That was pretty amazing. Then we took the ferry over to Paris. Oh but before that, this was part of the Contiki tour, at the head office in London, we were able to meet the Contiki executive, part of the operations team, so they gave us information about the back office, how they plan their trips

Mia: And they actually shared their stories about how they got to that position which is really helpful for us since we’re at entry level.

Christiane: Then we spent 2 nights at Chateau de Cruix.

Mia: Yes so I remember the first night we were the first group there and we actually divided into groups to make food. We prepared quiche and another group did a lemon tart, and another group did the coq au vin.

Christiane: So as soon as we arrived, because the chateau is located right on a winery in the Beaujolais region, there was a wine tasting; we had escargot and champagne that greeted us.

Mia: I tried it for the first time! At first I didn’t want to try it but they said that it’s good so I tried it and it is really good.

Christiane: We learned a lot as well here because they gave us a tour of the back office; how it’s operated, how they take care of the clients when they are there. It is an amazing fun experience to go to school and to have a 7-night trip included to Europe. Just learning even about the check-in, (we flew with Air Transat) the check in process, to actually experience it firsthand instead of learning it in class.

Mia: That’s why I’m taking this course, because I visited a lot of websites for tourism colleges and I saw that CTC was doing a trip to Europe and you can learn hands-on and I was like okay I am going to this one!

Career Days

Tourism students in Versailles

Christiane: That’s one of the highlights of the program! So when we are talking about career days, we actually get to go out of the classroom. So one of our field trips with the travel and tourism class was at the Convention Centre, so we had a tour guide that explained to us about all the career positions available, be it event planning, food and beverage … we had a tour of the back office to see how they actually serve meals sometimes to thousands of people, at all the seminars and conventions that are held there. Another group went to do a hotel inspection site, this was at the Westin Bayshore, so they met the general manager who gave them a tour and gave them insight of different career opportunities at the hotel.

Gustavo: So there we met the area leaders and it was actually really nice, to go there to see how people operate, see how they got the position and where they came from. It was really interesting.

Mia: They gave us a tour of the office as well, and they shared how they deal with their clients and how they manage to book, like, 50 people all at once!

Christiane: We had a travel and tourism class that went to the Vancouver Police Museum, as part of their dark tourism module, so they got to visit the jail and the morgue in Vancouver.

Mia: So we went to Bowen Island, since a lot of students are international students we took BC ferries for the first time and went to Bowen Island, as one of our career days.

Gustavo: We explored the island, and went hiking.

Jobs in Tourism

Christiane: So now lets talk about jobs. These statistics are provided by Go2HR, Go2HR serves the hospitality and tourism industry in Vancouver and they provide support and training and HR seminars. So for example in BC in the year 2018 which is just last year, there were 302,000 jobs in tourism, which is a lot. And their projection for job openings in 2020 is going to be over 100,000. Whenever I talk to people in the industry, they are desperately looking for staff, whether it be in hotels, or travel agencies or as tour operators, there is so much opportunity in BC and the rest of Canada as well. After healthcare and social assistance, we have the second largest workforce in BC. Even more than construction, mining, forestry and oil and gas. So definitely lots and lots of opportunities in tourism and hospitality.

So once you have taken one of our amazing programs at CTC, what are your career outcomes? Well you can work in all 5 sectors of the tourism industry, be it accommodation, transportation, travel services, recreation and entertainment, or food and beverage service, there are tons of opportunities. You can work on cruises, at hotels, in event planning, tourist attractions, airlines. The possibilities are limitless.

Our Graduates

Christiane: So where are our graduates now? We have tons of graduates working everywhere within the travel and tourism industry. I have former students who work for American Airlines, at hotels, at travel agencies, as tour operators …

I have alumni, my former students, who email me, who come back to talk to me and just rave about how everything they’ve learned in class, they actually get to use it in their current jobs.

Gustavo: I’d just like to add, it’s exactly what you say, I am working for an airline right now, and exactly what I saw in the airline industry I am using right now, so it’s actually really interesting for me to actually study and have the experience and now I’m really comfortable to do my job, and I’m improving myself really fast and I’m learning faster than they other people who have not studied before. I have the background already.

Mia: I know someone who studied here at CTC and she is working at WestJet, there are a lot of people working for WestJet from CTC, which is good. That’s the proof right there.

Christiane: Like I said, we have amazing instructors here, and our courses cover everything that will be able to help you to have an exciting career in travel and tourism. So we look forward to seeing you in class. Or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or to drop by. We thank you for joining us and hope to see you soon! Good luck!

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