Are you constantly daydreaming about your next big adventure, checking flight prices to faraway destinations, and planning fun itineraries for you and your travel buddies? A hospitality and tourism program might be right up your alley!

While you love lounging on the beach at a resort in Bali, you’re curious about the business behind the scenes. What drives travellers to pick their destination, what makes an incredible experience, and what impact do tourism and travel have on local communities? Studying tourism and hospitality management is your ticket to one of the highest-growing industries today: According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism has experienced continued growth and diversification to become one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world! The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that 1 of every 10 jobs on the planet are in the hospitality and tourism industry, which also accounts for 1 in 5 of all new jobs created over the last five years. That means there are plenty of opportunities to create a career in this ever-growing industry. If you’re a world traveller who’s also organized, business-minded, hard-working, and friendly people-person, read on to discover why a hospitality and tourism management program could be the perfect fit for you!

What is a hospitality and tourism degree?

There is a wide range of program options to choose from. Certificate programs focusing on one area of study are more suited for professionals seeking to upskill, while broader undergraduate or graduate-level programs provide students with an in-depth look at all areas of the industry. Hospitality and tourism degrees can specialize in one area of the industry, like sustainable tourism development, or cover a wide range of topics. These can include courses in management, accounting, sales and marketing, business administration, product design, intercultural communication, and much more! Many programs provide students the opportunity to travel abroad to gain hands-on experience and training in the industry through an internship. Students of hospitality or tourism will often study modern language in conjunction with their degree to better equip themselves for an international career.

How long does it take to get a hospitality and tourism management degree?

While certificates in tourism or hospitality can be completed in as little as two weeks, studying at a bachelor’s level usually takes three or four years. At a master’s level, studies will last one or two years. At a bachelor’s level students will be introduced to the travel and leisure industry, learning basics in business administration and hospitality and tourism studies and important underlying theories. In the second or third year, students will often take their studies abroad to gain important practical knowledge in the industry. Degrees may conclude with a bachelor’s level project or thesis. A master’s degree in hospitality and tourism is usually focused on a single track like sustainability, policy-making, or administration and management. These degree plans are often research-based and conclude with a master’s thesis.

Why study hospitality and tourism abroad?

If you have thought of using your love for travel and helping others to succeed in a Hospitality Management program, then maybe you have already considered expanding your horizons to include degree programs abroad. Why are so many students around the world packing their bags to study hospitality management abroad?

  1. Start a new adventure: When you study a program in your own country, the content typically focuses on the business side of hospitality management. But, why not challenge yourself and take your passions abroad and set your sights on a brand new set of skills? By studying abroad, you introduce yourself to a whole new way of life. You will get the chance to experience a new city, a new culture, and most likely a new language. Naturally, such a big change can come with challenges. But, by overcoming them, you learn the skills necessary to excel in your new program before you even hit the books.
  2. Make yourself marketable: According to a broad industry survey, major employers selected what they considered to be the best hospitality and tourism management schools in the world to recruit new talent. Of the top ten schools, seven different countries are represented, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. By selecting a school abroad, you cultivate a global network of contacts and increase your fluency in cross-cultural communication. You also demonstrate to future employers that you are an innovative individual who is ready to take on a challenge and use the skills you’ve learned to excel in a dynamic, fast-paced workplace.
  3. Take your education further: Graduate degrees in hospitality and tourism management are also increasing in popularity as industry trends in international, tech, and eco-tourism demand that professionals in the industry stay educated and relevant in order to keep grabbing tourists’ attention. If you missed the opportunity to study abroad during your undergraduate program, here’s your chance to live the study abroad experience. What better way to get a whole new perspective on life than to introduce yourself to a whole new culture?

Tips for choosing a tourism and hospitality degree

When deciding which hospitality and tourism management program to pursue, you should try to answer the following questions:

  • How much time can I devote to a program?
  • Do I need to travel or relocate to study a program?
  • How much can I afford to spend on a program?
  • What skills do I hope to gain from a program?
  • What kind of certification or degree do I want to receive?

These questions will help you decide whether to opt for an online course from the comfort of your home, a certification in a specific area or topic of interest, or a longer undergraduate or graduate program at a university. The program you choose will depend on your level – are you looking for an entry-level position or do you hope to advance to a managerial position? You can check job ads that sound interesting to you and search for programs that meet the job requirements.

What questions should you ask a university to find the right hospitality and tourism management program?

We also asked the same students above if there were any questions they asked or wished they had asked during the research and application process to determine which program was right for them. Here are the most common and helpful questions they think you should be asking universities before you apply.

  • Is the program specialized in certain areas of the tourism industry?
  • Are there opportunities to take part in an academic exchange program?
  • Are there any language courses offered?

What should I look for in a university for studying hospitality and tourism management?

If you’re interested in studying tourism or hospitality at a university level, the best programs combine theory with practice. Independent and classroom study should be combined with practical projects like group work to design your own travel event or marketing campaign. Get experience abroad A hospitality and tourism management degree should prepare students for a career in the travel industry so experience in the field is key. Many programs include a mandatory study abroad component that may be combined with an internship to give students experience working in a tourism or hospitality company abroad. Learn another language It’s also important to choose a university program with a mandatory language component if you are not multilingual. Being able to converse across language barriers is a huge benefit in an international field like hospitality and tourism. Take advantage of the available resources Finally, look for a program that has outstanding resources and facilities. Many programs end in a research project, so a well-equipped library and study space are important. Also, consider the staff—do they have experience in the field? This can provide you with the best connections to jumpstart your career in the hospitality and tourism management industry!

Careers in Hospitality and Tourism

As one of the world’s largest industries with a global economic contribution of over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016, the travel and tourism industry is a great field to pursue a career in. Last year, travel and tourism comprised 1/10 of all jobs (330 million)! The hospitality and tourism industry is diverse, but here are some potential hospitality and tourism jobs:

  • Travel Consultant
  • Product manager for a travel company
  • Marketing Manager
  • Hotel/Resort Manager
  • Sustainable Tourism Expert
  • Event Planner
  • Guest Relations Manager
  • Executive Chef


Embarking on a journey to study hospitality and tourism management opens doors to a dynamic and rapidly growing industry. This guide has provided you with insights into the different aspects of these programs, from understanding the degree structure to the advantages of studying abroad. As you consider your options, keep in mind the exciting opportunities that await in a field where your passion for travel meets the world of business. Whether you’re dreaming of organizing events, managing resorts, or shaping sustainable tourism, a hospitality and tourism management program can pave the way for a fulfilling and globally impactful career. Safe travels on your educational adventure!