What Are Popular Career Options in Travel and Tourism?

Jobs as travel agents, lodging managers and flight attendants are among the many options available to individuals interested in travel and tourism careers. Education requirements, career outlooks and salary information for these positions are provided below. Schools offering Travel & Tourism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Popular Travel and Tourism Career Options

Government tourism departments, travel agencies, airlines, tour operations and hotels are just a few of the industries offering employment opportunities to individuals interested in travel and tourism careers. If you're considering a job in this field, you might want to be aware that common attributes of travel and tourism professionals include a pleasant personality and a sense of adventurousness. Additional requirements for some of the job options available in this field are outlined below.

Important Facts About Popular Career Options in Travel and Tourism

Travel Agent Lodging Manager Flight Attendant
On-the-Job Training Short-term industry software training provided by employer Not formally provided; but, typically acquired through previous work experience Provided by airline, usually lasting three to six weeks
Professional Certification Certifications available through The Travel Institute, the International Air Transport Association, and the Cruise Lines International Association Voluntary; Certified Hospitality & Tourism Management Professional or Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics Mandatory; certification administered by the FAA
Key Skills Customer focused; clear communication; attention to detail; organization Interpersonal skills; leadership; problem solving; close listening Attentiveness; good judgment and decision making; physical stamina; customer focused
Similar Occupations Information clerks; meeting, convention, and event planners; secretaries and administrative assistants Food service managers; gaming service workers; human resources managers Customer service representatives; food and beverage serving and related workers; retail sales workers

Travel Agent

A job as a travel agent could be ideal if you're interested in making lodging reservations, booking flights and scheduling tours for clients looking to embark on business trips or personal vacations.

Adequate computer skills and a high school diploma are the minimum requirements for some travel agent positions. Additional training is commonly available in the form of online and on-campus continuing education courses and certificate programs that cover travel geography, customer service, travel marketing and computer reservation systems. You might also opt to earn a travel and tourism degree that includes additional business coursework.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 12% decline in job opportunities was expected for travel agents from 2016-2026. Agents catering to groups or corporate travelers could see the most favorable employment prospects. As of May 2018, travel agents earned a median salary of $38,700.

Lodging Manager

Lodging managers' job duties can range from booking guest reservations and training staff to ensuring the cleanliness of a hotel and managing its revenues. A high school diploma and significant work experience could land you a job in a smaller hotel, though employers in full-service establishments often require applicants to have an associate or bachelor's degree in lodging or hospitality management. These 2- and 4-year programs can provide you with an overview of housekeeping and food service operations and cover such topics as front office procedures and property management.

A 4% growth was projected for lodging managers from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. The best employment prospects were expected to be reserved for bachelor's degree program graduates applying to work at luxury hotels. These professionals earned a median salary of $53,390 per year as of May 2018.

Flight Attendant

In addition to presenting passengers with safety information, flight attendants generally provide the customer service needed to ensure a pleasant flight, whether by serving food and drink or reassuring anxious travelers. Applicants for these positions are expected to face strong competition, which allows many employers to favor job candidates with a degree in fields like public relations, communications and hospitality. However, educational requirements are only part of the job description. Many flight attendants have up to two years of experience working in the service industry. You'll also need to be a certain height and pass a medical exam before being offered a flight attendant position.

The BLS expects a 10% increase in flight attendant positions between 2016 and 2026, though applicants with a degree could face the best chance at landing one of these jobs. As of May 2018, flight attendants earned median salaries of $56,000.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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