What Can I Do with a Hospitality Degree in Tourism Management?
Earning a degree in tourism management can prepare you for work as a travel agent, event planner or tourism bureau administrator, among other positions. Read on to learn more about potential careers in this field.
Degrees in Tourism Management
Undergraduate degree programs in tourism management are commonly available at the associate's and bachelor's levels. Associate's degree programs offer introductory courses on the tourism industry in general, and they expose students to such subjects as event management, accounting and small business management. Bachelor's degree programs expand on that foundation, offering more management courses and electives in such areas as resort management, hospitality law and tourism marketing.
Important Facts About Career Options in Tourism Management
|Travel Agent||Event Planner|
|Median Salary (2018)||$38,700||$49,370 (for meeting, convention, and event planners)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||-12%||11% (for meeting, convention, and event planners)|
|Work Environment||Full time; longer hours during peak travel times throughout the year||Full time; long hours when planning an event|
|Similar Occupations||Information clerks, secretaries and administrative assistants||Food service managers, lodging managers|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A travel agent helps individuals and groups arrange excursions in the United States and abroad. You would help advise travelers about available destinations, with an understanding for their preferences and other factors, such as cost. To plan travel accommodations, you'll have to be adept with computers and understand both train and airplane schedules.
If an overseas trip is being planned, you'll need to advise the customer on such things as passports, medical requirements and monetary exchange rates. Travel agents also help plan hotel accommodations and tour schedules, if necessary.
Meeting, Convention or Event Planner
Meeting, event and convention planners work with organizations to make group travel and accommodation plans to specific locations. Potential employers include travel agencies, hotels and convention centers. You could also work for a large organization, planning events for it exclusively.
You would plan events and meetings at specific locations, such as hotels with meeting facilities or convention centers near hotels. This would involve planning in advance all of the lodging accommodations for all the attendees. Travel accommodations might be included. After securing a venue, you'd be responsible for scheduling all meetings and other events.
Tourism Bureau Employee
All large municipalities and some small towns have tourism bureaus, where the area is promoted and potential travelers are assisted. At a tourism bureau, you can help people plan their trip by advising them on air travel, hotel choices and destinations. Large cities of historical and cultural significance might highlight those aspects, as well as other hospitality activities, like sports, dining, nightlife and special events. You would communicate with people in person, by phone and online and help to update online content, such as scheduled events.
If you worked for an area with a prominent theme park, you might work in conjunction with that company to promote tourism to your town and that destination. Traditional vacation destinations also have websites and employ people to help promote and assist potential travelers, but much of that work is seasonal.
Tourism Organization Employee
Organizations such as the United Nations' World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the U.S. Travel Association or the American Automobile Association (AAA) all promote travel in different ways, and they need qualified people to accomplish that task. The UNWTO provides information on international travel, and it needs people to research and write materials that give resources for travel agents and potential travelers on the many aspects of traveling overseas.
The U.S. Travel Association helps professionals promote traveling and vacationing within the United States, and people who work for it can be advocates, researchers or government relations workers. The organization's department on government relations has its own Political Action Committee (PAC), and it works in government and at the grassroots level to promote travel in America.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a national organization that promotes not only travel in the United States, but focuses on automobile travel. AAA employees can help members with information on preferred rates for travel, hotels and venues.