Career in Focus: Jonica Paramor
Founder and co-owner, Unique Tourism Collection
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
As the founder and co-owner of The Unique Tourism Collection (UTC) with my business partner and closest friend Svetlana Jovanovic, I have been in business for over 25 years. There is no typical day for me — I do everything from running the business, bringing in the business and working in the business. My role involves managing our team to writing and implementing the sales and marketing strategy for a client, creating a PR strategy and plan, organising a roadshow, presenting in front of hundreds of people, designing consumer and trade campaigns to escorting journalists or travel trade to one of our many amazing products and destinations.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
I started my career at Qantas, working in the marketing team of the joint venture of Qantas and American Airlines to roll out Sabre in Australia, previously known as Fantasia. I left in the early 90s to go out on my own and start my own business. Doing some work for Tahiti Tourisme led me to my current incarnation of starting a business specialising in luxury tourism and destination marketing and I haven’t looked back. Svetlana joined me not long after that as I needed help for three months and we are still going strong and best friends after more than two decades.
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, majoring in communications and business — I guess that is somewhat relevant as that is the core of marketing — communicating an enticing message and selling aspirational places to travel to. In terms of tourism, I do think some formal qualifications are needed to understand the different levels of distribution.
4. What do you love about your job?
I love the travel of course. At The Unique Tourism Collection, we are very fortunate to have stayed true to our positioning as only representing the best in luxury and experiential product and destination in the world so we get to travel and experience all of them. Most importantly, it is the strong and close relationships with the travel trade borne out of not just the longevity in the business but also some fantastic trips.
5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Probably our biggest challenge has been running the business and keeping people employed. We’ve been successful though, celebrating our 25th year in business in 2017, so I am very proud of what we have achieved.
6. What factors were central to your success?
Relationships are number one and strong ethics. In 25 years, we have always strived to do the right thing by people and offer the best and most honest level of service and never take for granted the good fortune we have in our staff, our travel trade partners and our clients.
7. Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did you find them?
Travel gives you the opportunity to meet the most amazing people who have enriched my life no end. I have also been part of the TIME professional mentoring program facilitated by Penny Spencer that really opened my eyes to other ways to do business. A lovely lady we used to share office space with said it’s important to look up now and again because if you always have your head down, you will miss something.
8. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
This business is like no other and like other industries has its own challenges and an ever shifting landscape. It’s a lot of hard work that can look glamorous to the outside world with the travel and events but if you’re willing to get down and dirty and leave your ego at the door, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing people, visit some amazing places and your life will be so much richer.