“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
What is Tourism and Hospitality Management?
Tourism and Hospitality/Hotel Management is a specialized field that services primarily the hotel, travel, and tourism trades. This includes hotel management, tour services, various transport services, travel, business and marketing – there are many wonderful areas making up this vibrant, global sector.
Preparing to work in the industry
There are thousands of institutions around the world offering programs ranging from certificates and diplomas, to Bacherlor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Tourism and Hospitality/Hotel Management. Depending on the area you wish to specialize in, and the degree of study you will choose to pursue, you will find an array of potential courses that can be directly applied in the field. Some of these may include:
- Front desk and hotel reservations systems
- Food and beverage services
- Recreational tourism
- Micro- and macro-economics
- Hospitality and Tourism marketing
- Hotel Administration
- Spa management
- Lodging management and operations
- Environment impact and sustainability
- Hospitality and tourism business communications
- Tour operations
- Service quality and revenue management
- Hospitality law
- Convention marketing
These are just a few of the areas that can be found in the programs available. The course offerings will vary from school to school, and depend on the length of the program. You can explore and find the fit that best suits you.
As well, most programs include a co-op or practicum, during which time you will gain either local or international work experience. This can make you directly employable upon completion, armed with invaluable knowledge and experience in the sector, or prepare you to embark on the next academic level in the field.
What are the prospects in this sector?
Tourism and worldwide travel figures continue to rise, indicating that along with those increases, so is the need increasing for educated, well-trained, and passionate professionals.
According to the UN World Tourism Organization Network (UNTWO), recent figures are promising:
‘’2016 started on a strong note for international tourism. International tourist arrivals grew by 5% between January and April 2016 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Results were robust across almost all subregions and many destinations reported double-digit growth. Prospects for May-August remain positive, with around 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the Northern Hemisphere summer holiday peak season.
Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009.
‘Results show a strong desire to travel and this continues to drive tourism growth. Destinations keep benefitting from solid demand across all world regions despite ongoing challenges, showing that tourism is a dynamic and resilient economic sector,’ said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.’’
Here are some of the areas you can consider focusing on in your studies:
Hotels and resorts
After completing an applicable program in tourism and hospitality management, you can be prepared for a career in hotel and/or resort management. This typically involves hotels, motels, and resorts, but can also be useful for running a family B&B or a private spa resort. Ideally, you would look at landing a management position in any of the many areas within the establishment. The program you take and the speciality you focus on will make a difference in what type of position you get, but don’t be afraid to start smaller and dream big. The more experience you gather, the further your career can take you.
The airline and cruise industries
With a program in tourism and hospitality management, you should be able to pick up the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the multi-billion dollar cruise and airline industries. With the rigorous and continuous competition within each of these areas, leading companies are looking more and more to build image and improve systems, and to achieve this, they need to work with the brightest stars in their fields.
This is an exciting area to be in, as it can span so many different sectors. With a focus on, and passion for, organizing events, you can work with concert promoters, fundraising organizations, political establishments, convention centres, etc. If you are good at seeing ‘the whole picture’ and knowing all the parts that make it up in order to put on a successful event, this could be the right focus for you in your schooling.