A degree in travel and tourism management prepares graduates for careers as travel agents, lodging managers or meeting, convention and event planners. Jobs for travel agents are expected to decline from 2014-2024, although lodging managers and meeting, convention and event planners should see job growth of 8% and 10% respectively during the same time period.
Individuals who hold a degree in travel and tourism management may work as travel agents, hospitality managers or travel coordinators. These career fields are expected to see low growth or even decrease, but opportunities may be available with larger establishments. The education and training requirements vary based on position and company.
|Career||Travel Agent||Lodging Manager||Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners|
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent, some college coursework (recommended)||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree typically required|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-6%||1%||7%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$38,700||$53,390||$49,370|
Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics
A degree in travel and tourism management equips you to work in such locations as a travel agency, a hotel, an airport, or any other hospitality-focused locale. Degree levels differ depending on the career, but all of these jobs require a certain subset of knowledge and the ability to multitask and communicate clearly with customers.
Career Information for a Travel and Tourism Management Degree
Travel and tourism management degree programs teach business concepts specific to the travel industry. These programs are often found in a school's hospitality or business college. Students may take courses in human resources, facilities management, media relations and financial strategies. Many travel and tourism management programs offer or require internships with companies in the tourism or hospitality industries prior to graduation.
Travel agents assist travelers with all aspects of planning a trip, including flights, accommodations and car rentals. These individuals may be knowledgeable about weather, customs and tourist attractions of popular destinations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), resorts and specialty groups may use travel agents to promote services to clients. Travel agents need good networking and customer service skills to build and maintain a clientele base.
The proliferation of travel-based websites and a poor economy have hurt the career prospects of travel agents. The BLS indicates that employment for travel agents is expected to decline by 6% from 2018-2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of a travel agent was $38,700.
Lodging managers may be referred to by other titles and are responsible for operating hotels, motels and resorts. The individual in charge of the overseeing the complete operation is usually called the general manager. The number of managers depends on the size of an establishment. Larger resorts or hotels may have managers for housekeeping, food service and human resources while small motels may only have a single manager.
Many lodging managers begin as assistant managers or regular employees before advancing. They train staff members and may be charged with promoting viable candidates to management positions. Lodging managers may track the financial data and market an establishment's amenities to businesses, organizations and travelers. They need to be skilled at solving problems and handling multiple tasks at once.
The BLS states that employment for lodging managers was expected to show little or no change from 2018-2028. The best opportunities may be with larger establishments that have more departments. According to the May 2018 BLS, the median annual salary of lodging managers was $53,390.
Travel coordinators organize the travel arrangements of corporations or large organizations, such as universities and non-profits. Their job duties may include booking flights on commercial or private jets, reserving conference rooms, forwarding information to the appropriate personnel and supervising support staff. PayScale.com reports as of September 2019 that travel coordinators make a median salary of $40,832. The BLS also reported in May 2018 that meeting, event, and convention planners make a median annual salary of $49,370, and that job prospects for that position are expected to increase faster than average by 7% from 2018 to 2028.
Travel agents assist customers with making arrangements necessary for travel, which includes booking flights, hotels, rental cars and tour packages. Lodging managers operate hotels, resorts and motels and oversee staff responsible for housekeeping and other tasks. Travel coordinators make travel arrangements for large groups or organizations and are typically responsible for booking flights and arranging for use of meeting or conference rooms.