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Build a Career in Tourism and Hospitality

If you are considering a career in the tourism or the hospitality industry, you will have some very promising employment opportunities. 

According to Statista, a research company, the number of tourist arrivals worldwide has more than doubled from 527 million in 1995 to approximately 1.19 billion in 2015. In addition, it is estimated that travel and tourism contributed $7.17 trillion (Rs. 4,86,00,000 crores approximately) to the global economy in 2015.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in the accommodation and food services industry make up approximately 8 percent of all employment nationally. “With the hospitality industry’s growth rate increasing, the importance of finding good employees, especially youth workers, is a high priority,” says the bureau’s Career Guide to Industries.

The tourism and hospitality industry in India has most definitely developed, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, a trust established by the Department of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Over 7.1 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2015, and the industry is expected to generate 13.45 million jobs across sub-segments like restaurants, hotels, travel agents or tour operators. And, according to the World Tourism Organization, foreign tourist arrivals in India are expected to reach 15.3 million by 2025.

Educational institutions in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America have responded to these trends, adding undergraduate and graduate programs in related fields. Here’s a list of a few programs offered in the fields of tourism and hospitality at U.S. universities, and a few tips for applicants.


Undergraduate programs

Arizona State University, Tempe: Business-Tourism (Bachelor of Arts) - Provides students with training in marketing techniques and business fundamentals necessary for success in the tourism industry and related fields.

Related courses include: Entrepreneurial recreation and tourism; international tourism; introduction to resort and hotel management; introduction to travel and tourism; and tourism marketing.


Drexel University, Philadelphia: Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management - Prepares students for careers in restaurant operations, event planning, tourism industry, casino management and hotel administration.

Coursework areas include: Food and beverage customer service; gaming, casino and resort management; hospitality marketing and branding; hotel administration; and meeting and event planning.


Indiana University Bloomington: Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management - Focuses on management, marketing and operations of hotels, restaurants, parks and other attractions associated with tourism and hospitality industries.

Related courses include: Legal aspects of recreation; tourism and commercial recreation; introduction to lodging management; international tourism; festival and event management; and green operations in hospitality management.


New York University, New York City: Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Tourism Management - Prepares students for managerial positions in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Students acquire essential industry knowledge and leadership skills in hospitality finance, and also gain hands-on experience through internships and industry programs in New York City and around the world.

Related courses include: Tourism impacts and issues; lodging industry structures and strategies; leadership for crisis situations; hospitality and tourism law; and tourism planning and policy.


Graduate programs

Cornell University, Ithaca: Master of Management in Hospitality - The only one of its kind in the Ivy League schools, the program prepares students for a global and people-driven industry where creative thinkers find themselves on the career fast-track. Through this program, students learn business management with a focus on hospitality and related industries.

Related courses include: Operations management; services marketing; competitive strategies for the hospitality industry; leadership development; and human resources management.


Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.: Master of Professional Studies in Hospitality Management - Students gain a comprehensive understanding of hospitality while taking part in cutting-edge projects and gaining experience through internship opportunities.

Concentrations: Brand management and guest experience design, development and asset management, global and regional standards, and general management.


Pennsylvania State University, State College: Master of Science in Hospitality Management - Prepares students for beginning academic positions at universities and research positions in industry.

Emphases include: Facilities management; hospitality real estate management; branding; sales and marketing; human resources management; and new product development.


Tips for applicants:

• Ask for permission to observe “a day in the life” of a tour agency, hotel, restaurant or event planning office. Spend several hours, perhaps over the weekend, when it would typically be busier. Would this type of work appeal to you on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis?

• Conduct interviews with individuals currently working in the sector in which you are most interested. Among other things, ask two questions: “What do you like the most about your job and what do you like the least?” and “What advice would you give to someone starting out in the tourism or hospitality industry?”

• Thoroughly read the information provided on program websites, paying close attention to course requirements, the curriculum, faculty and job placement assistance/percentages.


Don Martin is a former admissions dean at Columbia, University of Chicago and Northwestern, and author of “Road Map for Graduate Study.”

Wesley Teter is a former regional director of EducationUSA in India and Central Asia, supported by the U.S. Department of State.