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Alumni Profiles

Jessica Pretty

Jessica Pretty

Pilon School of Business
Year of Graduation: 2003
Program: Tourism and Travel

Jessica Pretty is the Senior Sales and Training Coordinator at Kensington Tours which offers private custom tours to 90+ countries worldwide. Kensington Tours was twice listed among the Best Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic Adventure magazine. She is now pursuing a degree in Hispanic Studies at York University.

Where did you grow up and what led you to pursue a career in travel?

I grew up in the small town of Chatham, Ontario. Like several others, the dream of travelling led me to a career in the travel industry. However, I hadn’t even been on a plane before I started my schooling at Sheridan. Now I’ve been everywhere.

How has the Internet affected the traditional travel agency?

I think there was a misconception that travel agencies would no longer exist due to the growth of online bookings. However, the companies I have worked for are actually hiring more travel agents. Some agents bring us 10 bookings a month or even a week if we get lucky, demonstrating that the agent channel is expanding, not declining.

What are the most popular travel destinations in your experience at Kensington?

Italy as well as Kenya & Tanzania combined top our charts. Madagascar and Myanmar are climbing the list as well. Egypt used to overtake it all, but since the unrest two years ago, this market is redeveloping. We know it will bounce back as it’s an amazing country.

What tips would you offer travellers when looking to travel?

I think James Michener summed it up best when he said: “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might as well stay at home.” I’ve had people demand that real Coca-Cola be served in their hotel and the entire population must speak English. Be realistic. We don’t expect someone visiting Canada to speak perfect English. If you’re going to Mexico, take a Spanish lesson. You might surprise yourself!

What advice would you offer new graduates to help them succeed in a competitive industry?

Start at the bottom, work your way up and be happy about it. A great attitude goes a long way! And, if you want something, go for it and tell your superiors about your goals as well. They want you to be successful and enjoy what you do because then you’ll put more into your job. I started off at an all-inclusive tour company which is where I got my “travel bearings”. It only got better from there!

Also…TRAVEL! This is what employers want – so get on a plane and don’t worry about your wallet.

Find out more about Sheridan's Tourism and Travel Program.