Travel agent might be a vocation that's fallen by the wayside in recent years, but an entirely new one has taken its place.
Personal travel designers have become increasingly popular among young people as an occupation, with an average income of 9,000 yuan a month according to a recent report from a major travel agency.
The report, released by Ctrip.com in early July, also showed more people — especially those born after 1995 — prefer to be personal travel designers themselves, as tailor-made travel demand explodes nationwide.
For instance, Xiamen, Fujian province, ranks ninth for the most travel designers in the country, and the city was listed in the top 10 most popular destinations for travel rates in the online guide.
Although designers started to get certified in Xiamen last May, the prospect of the new career is apparently not as sound as it seems to be, the report said.
"The job is not that exciting and relaxing as people imagine," said Li Bo, an experienced bespoke travel agent and head of the Jiuzhou Junhao travel agency. "In fact, it is far from it."
"We spend 80 percent of our time talking with our clients to learn their needs, and 15 percent on post-sale services," Li said. "Only 5 percent of time is spent checking scenic spots ourselves."
It is also quite common to modify travel plans again and again as clients come up with new ideas and suggestions, Li said.
Li Yahui, board secretary of Xiamen China International Travel Services, said it is not easy to be a qualified personal travel designer since the job requires a good knowledge of routes, as well as geographical and historical background information for the destination.
"It is time-consuming to cultivate a qualified travel designer, so the emerging tailor-made travel industry still has a long way to go," Li said.
Yang Jie contributed to the story.