23 June 2020

University of East London (UEL) alumna Kelly Joannides has been named as one of the brightest young prospects in the travel industry.

The tourism management graduate featured as one of the Travel Trade Gazette’s “30 under 30” who were hailed as “tomorrow’s travel leaders”.

Kelly, who graduated in 2017, has worked in a range of roles within the industry, starting as a destination rep for Thomas Cook and later moving into product development with tour operator Golden Tours.

Most recently, she has taken on a role with Advantage Holidays as trading and product executive.

When my manager first said that he had nominated me for the award, I was so shocked and didn’t believe I would actually be shortlisted. It’s very easy to take for granted what you do on a day-to-day, and sometimes it isn’t until someone else points it out that you step back and realise you’re doing a good job. I guess it shows that if you put everything you have into your work, you’re bound to achieve something great,"

Kelly Joannides, UEL graduate and one of "30 under 30" stars in the Travel Trade Gazette, said.

The recognition has come at a tricky time for the tourism and hospitality sector, which has faced a tough period of lockdown and is looking for signals that the restrictions will be lifted in time from the important summer period.

Kelly said, “Covid-19 has definitely thrown a spanner in the works to say the least, but for those of us who work in the tourism sector, the ability to adapt is almost second nature given the volatile nature of the industry. I have every bit of confidence we’ll pull together and come out stronger than ever.” 

Looking to her own future, she said, “I'd like to take on more responsibility by leading a team and move into a more senior role, as well as contribute more toward strategic planning and budget decisions.

Another strong interest of mine is niche and digital marketing which I would love the opportunity to explore further.”

Lisa Wyld, director of the Institute of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of East London, said, “I am so delighted and proud that Kelly has made such an enormous impact on the profession in such a short space of time. It is a double boost for us because it allows our current students to see what impact they could make within only a few years of graduating. We can’t wait to see what happens next for Kelly.”

Professor Mohammad Ali, dean of the Royal Docks School of Business and Law, said, “As part of our 10-year strategic plan - Vision 2028, we have pledged to ensure that our graduates are best placed to take advantage of the changing world of work. Kelly’s success epitomises what we are hoping to achieve as she acquires recognition, influence and profile in her chosen profession. We wish her well for the future.”

And in a message to current tourism management students, Kelly said, “I acquired many of my transferable skills from my time studying at UEL, such as time management, a strong work ethic, presentational skills and conducting research to name a few.

“Working hard on your studies and achieving high grades is great and can open up many opportunities for you in the future, but it doesn’t end there. Making use of networking opportunities and building a strong profile on Linkedin can make all the difference in starting or strengthening your career potential.”

As part of her recognition, Kelly will be invited to network events and have the opportunity to meet with current travel industry leaders.

If you are interested in a career in hospitality and tourism, please see our subject page.

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