If you were to describe your dream job, it would probably have some, if not all of the following characteristics: limitless career opportunities in a growing and important industry, routine travel, and new challenges around every bend. Do we have your attention? You will find all of these qualities in a career in travel and tourism.
Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries. The Travel Industry Association of America says that in 2004, the U.S. travel industry received more than $600 billion from domestic and international travelers, and that’s not counting international passenger fares. These expenditures directly resulted in 7.3 million jobs and over $162 billion in payroll income for Americans, as well as $100 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue. Travel and tourism is an incredibly vital and exciting industry, and the career opportunities that exist within it are as varied as the destinations it serves.
While a large part of the travel and tourism industry is comprised of travel agencies, there are many other vital components. These include hotels, resorts, restaurants/food, bus/train/airline bookings, and tour operations. Among travel agents there is a great deal of variation. Some specialize in business travel, and are involved in planning, publicity and bookings for conferences or trade fairs. Some specialize in holiday/vacation planning.
A travel and tourism career requires a wide array of skills, and some formal study in travel and tourism is helpful. Your studies will include computer and technology training, marketing, business management, accounting and public relations. Have you traveled much? That’s even better. Experienced travelers bring unique and desirable qualities to their positions, and those in travel and tourism careers often get free or discounted travel. See and experience the world everyday with a career in travel and tourism
Travel & tourism has changed drastically over the past century. At one time, taking a vacation was a luxury reserved for only the wealthiest members of society. Now, taking a vacation is practically a requirement for any working individual. Tourism is now a major part of the economy. In some countries, tourism is actually responsible for most of the gross domestic product.
If you have ever considered going back for a second degree, travel and tourism should figure into your studies. People have more expendable income now than ever before. It is cheaper and easier to travel now than at any time in history. We’re living longer and working harder. Tourism is clearly an industry poised for additional growth. Expect there to be a lot of careers in this expansive field.
What might a career in tourism look like? There are plenty of options. Travel agents, hotel and resort staff, chefs, transportation professionals, and tour guides are some of the more popular career paths.
As you can see, what career you choose will determine what aspect of tourism you need to study. Some jobs (like travel agents) are extremely people-oriented so having strong communication skills, diplomacy, and patience will be vital. Other jobs (like pilots) are more technically oriented and require training of an entirely different sort. What path interests you?
Like any other industry, there are usually perks that come along with the job. In the travel & tourism industry, some of those perks can be pretty substantial. You can expect to receive discount air tickets, hotel vouchers, free meals, and promo items on a fairly regular basis. Not to mention, you might also receive ample vacation time. What could be more perfect than that?
Salaries are slowly going up. People are living longer. The cost of travel (both domestic and international) is constantly going down. What this means is that the travel & tourism industry is poised for tremendous growth in the coming years. It’s not uncommon for families to take trips to Europe for summer vacation. Expect this trend to spread to South America, Asia, and Africa as well.
This is great news for anyone with a career in recreation and tourism. Hotel staff, chefs, tour guides, travel agents, flight attendants, and even embassy personnel will have plenty of work as a result of heightened travel and leisure time. And because tourism is such a vast field, you have many different careers from which to choose. Are you a lawyer at heart? Every resort needs legal counsel. Perhaps you’re a history fanatic or an outdoor adventurer. Lead tour groups. Handy in the kitchen? Study to become a gourmet chef at a spa. Whatever career you desire, there are options out there.
Tourism is about providing quality service to deserving customers. After weeks of saving and scrimping, people want to be treated lavishly during their few precious days of free time. That’s why most employers will require that you complete formal study and training in your appropriate field. Your studies will prepare you to provide the high level of service required for whatever job you choose to enter.
Retiring couples now have the resources and availability to get away for a few months. College graduates often take extended summer vacations between their studies. Honeymooners can jet to the other side of the world instead of the usual Niagara Falls getaway. If you want a career that promises many rewards, daily stimulation, and personal fulfillment, why not explore tourism as a possible option. Wouldn’t you rather have an office at a resort than in a downtown cubicle?
Remember the days when you all piled into the car and drove to the closest beach or national park? Your younger brother kept inching over to your side of the car. Your parents constantly reassured you that you guys were “almost there.” You played word games or sang songs to pass the time. Well, vacations have become much more sophisticated in the years since. Thanks to the Internet, planning a trip has never been easier. Now, trips often involve international travel, luxury hotels, 5-star dining, and professional massages on the side. Travel & tourism have never been the same.
In keeping pace with the level and sophistication of today’s travelers, tourism careers have also become more complex. Having strong people skills are not enough any more. That’s why going back to school to study tourism and recreation is so important. Whether you’re a travel agent, hotel concierge, or chef, your job is to provide the best possible service you can during a client’s visit. So in addition to developing stronger problem solving skills, diplomacy, and communication your studies will focus on honing whatever applicable crafts and skills are involved. And in today’s global economy, it won’t hurt your career to study a few extra languages as well. You’ll often be working with people from around the world.
You’ll be happy to know that there are countless tourism and travel jobs out there. Peak a career. Do you like law? Hotels need lawyers. Do you enjoy cooking? Restaurants require chefs. You want to be a yoga instructor? Resorts usually offer classes. Are you a history buff? Lead tours through the streets of Venice. All you have to do is pick an interest, complete your studies, and start helping people enjoy their hard-earned vacations.
This career guide has been archived – Please find up to date career information at The Business Career Guide