Careers in Hospitality & Tourism: Combining Business with Pleasure
Who says you can't combine business with pleasure? Not hospitality & tourism professionals, that's for sure.
Most people have an inherent curiosity about exotic locales. They wonder about a place's unique cuisines, customs, and destination spots. Sometimes the desire to get away stems from a temporary need to escape and be pampered by others for a while. The hospitality and tourism industry capitalizes on this seemingly universal desire for both adventure and relaxation, and has spawned a host of jobs, which are, at their core, all geared towards ensuring a vacationer's good time.
If you're passionate about travel and enjoy helping people, you may want to consider a career as a travel agent, tour guide, or travel guide. Oh, and the perks don't stop with respectable salaries and the satisfaction of a job well done. Have you ever wanted to travel but didn't quite have the money to plan a trip? Those established in the hospitality and tourism professions may never encounter this problem, as they often receive reduced fares and accommodations, and sometimes even enjoy familiarization trips that come gratis with the territory. Before you pack your bags and reach for the sun block, read up on this rewarding career path.
Popular Jobs in Hospitality & Tourism
Hospitality and tourism serves as an umbrella term for a multitude of jobs, from hotel party planner to Costa Rican adventure guide. Some of the most common professions in this field are highlighted below:
- Tour guide: Tour guides specialize in leading people--either individuals or groups--on tours through places of cultural or geographical significance. These destinations may include architectural landmarks, geographical phenomena, and museums. Guides should display enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of the destinations for which they are responsible.
- Travel guide: A travel guide's work is very similar to that of a tour guide's, but usually takes place on a larger scale and/or a longer timeline. Travel guides develop tours, cruises, and expeditions, often taking people to scenic areas they might otherwise have missed.
- Travel agent: Travel agents arrange multiple aspects of a traveler's trip. They may book a client's flights, cruises, and hotel accommodations. At the heart of any travel agent's responsibilities lies in-depth knowledge. From weather reports to localized food safety warnings, a travel agent must be constantly appraised of every facet of his/her client's destination.
Although a high school diploma is usually the only official prerequisite for entering the hospitality and tourism field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that postsecondary training has become increasingly attractive to employers. A few colleges offer programs in travel and tourism, but students may also find vocational schools with specialized training to be equally beneficial.
Job Outlook & Salary
The BLS predicts little to no change for most hospitality and tourism jobs. Still, prospects should be good for those who specialize in a particular destination or service. In 2007, travel agents earned $30,130 on average.