Our guide to tourism management
Hotcourses Editor

Our guide to tourism management

First published date January 08 2014 Amended date January 08 2014

Imagine if your job was to help people have a good time? People who work in tourism do just that. Whether it’s running a museum or managing a hotel, they make sure tourists receive great service and always leave satisfied. And in today’s world of cheap flights and high-speed trains, people are travelling more than ever before – so there are plenty of people to satisfy! Types of tourism have grown too, did you know you can now go on special wine tasting holidays and polar cruises? Probably not! A tourism management course will bring you up to speed – and fast. You’ll gain a fascinating insight into the global environment in which the travel and tourism sector operates, going behind the scenes to discover how the industry is evolving.     


Why study a tourism management course?

There are 101 brilliant reasons to study a tourism management course. These are just three…


·         You want a broad qualification: A tourism management course can cover everything from arts tourism, to the heritage business to sporting events – giving you an excellent grounding in multiple areas. And many of the business skills you learn will be transferable too. So by studying tourism management, you’ll open the door to a broad range of career options.


·         You want to start to your business: Some of the courses available are designed specifically for people looking to set up a tourism business. These courses are more UK focused and often shorter – they’ll also have a greater focus on practical and business skills

·         You want to live aboard: What better way to find work abroad than to be in the travel and tourism industry?! Many tourism management courses have international elements to them so that students can discover how the industry works abroad, and how they can transfer their skills overseas.


What types of courses are there?

Lots! You’ll find everything from introductory online courses you can study at home in your own time, to four year sandwich degrees where you’ll spend a year on a placement working in the industry. There are vocational courses too: Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) that take two years when studied full-time, Higher National Certificates (HNCs) that take a year and BTECs, which vary. All of these are vocational courses where the emphasis is on practical, work-based training.

And if it’s the academic route you’re after, you’ll find that too. Undergraduate degrees in tourism management are plentiful while postgraduate qualifications are also available.


What will I learn?

This will depend on the length and type of course you choose, but some of the areas you might cover are:

·         What is tourism – and the areas which make up the tourism industry

·         Business tourism – what this means, and who business tourists are

·         The arts and the heritage business

·         Sport and recreational tourism

·         Sustainable tourism and its growing importance

·         Tourism marketing – what this is and how it varies

·         Customer service in tourism

·         Popular tourist destinations – why they’re so popular

·         Trends in tourism – what’s popular now and what’s forecast to become popular


As well as these subject areas, the skills you’re likely to develop include:

·         How to develop tourism work-related business skills

·         Communication skills

·         Analysis and decision making

·         Critical reasoning and research methods

·         How to think creatively


Five awesome jobs in tourism

Yep, better believe it, these jobs exist.

1. Holiday rep

You get paid to, well, be on holiday! Holiday reps work for companies like Thomas Cook and First Choice and make sure that holidaymakers have a great time. They welcome new guests, show them around the resort and give advice on where to eat and what activities to do in the area.

2. Guide writer

Somebody’s got to try out those five-star hotels! Guides like the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides are famous for providing unbiased, up-to-date information for traveller, holidaymakers and backpackers. Their writers scour destinations testing everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to run-down hostels – so it’s not all glamorous!

3. Castle keeper

We all know the famous ones like Windsor Castle and the Tower of London, but actually there are loads of amazing castles and palaces all over the UK – not to mention the rest of Europe! All these buildings employ people to manage the building, the visitors and put on events – so your office could be a castle…

4.  Theme park manager

It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it! As with any business, a theme park manager ensures the smooth running of operations and helps keep the business a commercial success. Only difference with this one is you get to ride a roller coaster every day (there’s some other stuff too, but whatever…).

5. Zombie

The London Dungeons might not seem like the most obvious career choice, but with a £30k starting salary it’s not such a scary option after all! They hold auditions every year too, so no matter how keen you are, there’s no harm in waiting until you’ve finished your tourism course (in case you decide that painting your face white every day isn’t so great after all).


By Rebecca Hobson

Similar Subjects