Two-year AS and AAS programs in travel and tourism management provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work in the sales, advertising and marketing of travel products. Students usually learn to research and prepare tour and travel packages using relevant technology, such as cost-controlling techniques and computer-based ticketing and reservation programs. Some programs may also include courses related to office management and leadership. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate's Degrees in Travel and Tourism Management
Coursework in these associate's degree programs generally focuses on international and domestic travel markets, travel theory and travel foods. Students might also be taught to strategically design marketing plans and analyze visitor experiences. Other topics of study include tour and cruise brochure design, group sales pricing, religious customs and regional sightseeing. Classes cover topics such as:
- Management of customer service
- Travel entertainment and attractions
- Tourism leadership
- Laws of travel, hotels and restaurants
- Gourmet culture overview
Popular Career Options
Graduates might find leadership positions with a variety of destination marketing organizations, such as:
- Tourism development agencies
- Travel agencies
- Cruise companies
- Visitors bureaus
Career and Salary Information
Depending on the employer and the duties assigned, jobs in the travel and tourism industry can vary in their career outlook and earning potential. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for travel agents are predicted to decrease by 12% from 2014 to 2024 and that as of May 2015, travel agent jobs paid a median annual salary of $35,660 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that jobs for tour guides and escorts are expected to grow 5% during the same decade and that the median annual salary for these jobs was $24,100 as of May 2015.
Travel guide jobs - similar to tour guides but involving more planning and long-distance travel responsibilities - were predicted to show little or no change (0% growth), and these professionals were paid a median annual salary of $34,180 as of May 2015. According to the BLS, jobs for general and operations managers are expected to increase 7% from 2014 to 2024, and the median annual salary for these jobs was $97,730, as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates might go on to earn a higher-level undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor's degree in hospitality management with a travel and tourism management concentration. Additionally, graduates can pursue graduate options in this field through tourism administration or hospitality management master's degree programs. Earning these degrees allow individuals to pursue advanced positions within the field that would not be available to associate's degree holders.
While ASB programs in travel and tourism management infrequently exist, AS and AAS degree programs offer multidisciplinary training that combines business studies with travel-specific courses in order to prepare students to work in the field or to pursue more advanced studies in related subjects.