What Is the Employment Outlook for a Career in Tourism?

The employment outlook for a career in tourism depends on many factors, such as the economic outlook and political conditions of foreign countries. Opportunities are available for agents who specialize in specific areas of travel. Read this article to learn about the employment outlook for a career in tourism. Schools offering Travel & Tourism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


In the tourism field, agents help travelers make the best possible travel arrangements. They give advice on destinations, arrangements for transportation, hotel accommodations, car rentals, and tours. They are cognizant of weather conditions, local ordinances, and required paperwork. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that employment of travel agents is expected to decline by approximately 12% between 2016 and 2026. Agents who specialize in a destination, type of traveler, or mode of transportation may still be able to find career opportunities.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $38,700 (for travel agents)
Similar Occupations Event planner, concierge, hotel general manager, tour company president
Required Education High school diploma; postsecondary training preferred
On-the-Job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training is necessary

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


As of 2016, travel agents held about 81,700 jobs. Travel agencies are found in every part of the country. Approximately 79% of those employed in tourism worked for travel agencies in 2016. Approximately 15% of travel agents were self-employed the same year.

The Internet has made it easy for travelers to plan their own vacations. Travel and airline websites provide unlimited opportunities to research and plan almost any type of vacation. These websites are very competitive and allow travelers to find lower prices. However, those individuals seeking for more specialized and/or exotic trips, like adventure tours, will still have a need for a trust-worthy travel agency's services.

Job Opportunities

The BLS reports that demand for travel agent jobs will likely continue to decline with the prevalence of the Internet allowing travelers to make many of their own travel arrangements. Opportunities are best for agents that specialize in specific destinations, luxury travel, and specific special interest groups. Many tourists prefer not traveling abroad because demand for travel is sensitive to economic downturns and political conditions in foreign countries. Positions in the tourism market will open as travel agents retire or pursue other careers.

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