Tourism today is one of the world’s largest industries. It is made up of many segments, the principal ones being transportation, accommodations, food service, shopping, travel arrangements, and activities for tourists, such as history, culture, adventure, sports, recreation, entertainment, and other similar activities. The businesses that provide these services require knowledgeable and imaginative business managers.
Familiarity with tourism, recreation, business, and leisure equips one to pursue a career in a number of tourism-related fields. Tourism skills are critically needed, and there are many opportunities available in a multitude of fields.
Because tourism is diverse and complex and each sector has many job opportunities and career
paths, it is virtually impossible to list and describe all the jobs one might consider in this large field.
However, as a student interested in tourism, you could examine the following areas,
An effort has been made in the industry segments to provide a fairly comprehensive list of jobs,
including entry-level jobs requiring few skills. Entry jobs are listed because they are part of the tourism industry and provide examples of the kinds of jobs managers will have the task of recruiting and supervising.
Opportunities for technology jobs permeate the tourism industry at virtually every level. Although
information technology has always been important in the field, its importance increases as the variety
of new devices and improvements on existing ones appear. For instance, application of advanced
information technology to provide tourist information via navigation systems, PDAs (personal digital
assistants), or mobile phones is growing.
Consequently, additional technical manpower will continue to be needed for tourism managers to
achieve the best results. People skilled in Web technologies, user interface, modules, database
management, programming, business intelligence, business analysis, market research, and computer
graphics are among those who can look forward to opportunities in the industry.
In addition to information technology, a number of new tourism products have emerged as tourism
technology has been combined with other industries. These include medical tourism, educational
tourism, agricultural tourism, marine tourism, and space tourism.
Another technology creating tourism jobs is the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS has become a
widely used aid to navigation worldwide, and is also a useful tool for mapmaking, land surveying, and commerce. Indeed, there is hardly a field that is not employing GPS; its many capabilities are applied by scientists, pilots, military troops, hikers, bikers, business travelers, vacationers, off-road adventurers, mariners, fishermen, hunters, and balloonists, to cite a few. Visit www.garmin.comandwww.tomtom.jobs for more information.
The airlines are a major travel industry employer, offering a host of jobs at many levels, ranging from
entry level to top management, including reservation agents, flight attendants, pilots, flight engineers,
aircraft mechanics, maintenance staff, baggage handlers, airline food service jobs, sales representatives, sales jobs, computer specialists, training staff, office jobs, clerical
positions, ticket agents, and research jobs. Because airlines have to meet safety and other requirements, opportunities also exist with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA hires air traffic controllers and various other specialists. Airports also use a wide range of personnel,
from parking attendants to airport managers. Other policy and air safety–related jobs are available with associations such as the Air Transport Association.
Bus companies require management personnel, ticket agents, sales representatives,
tour representatives, hostesses, information clerks, clerical positions, bus drivers, personnel people, and training employees.
The cruise industry is the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry today. Job opportunities
include those for sales representatives, clerical workers, market researchers, recreation directors, and
CEOs. Because of their similarity in operations, cruise lines have many of the same jobs as the lodging industry.
Passenger rail service in the United States is dominated by Amtrak and in Canada by Via Rail. In Europe, Japan, and elsewhere, rail passenger transportation is much more developed and widespread, offering greater opportunities than in North America. Railroads hire managers, passenger service representatives, traffic analysts, marketing managers, sales representatives, reservations clerks, information specialists, conductors, engineers, coach and lounge car attendants, and station agents.
Rental Car Companies
With increased pleasure, air travel, and the growth of fly/drive programs, rental car companies are
becoming an ever-more-important segment of the travel industry. This sector of tourism employs
People in tourism tend to reservation agents, rental sales agents, clerks of various kinds, service agents, mechanics, and district
and regional managers.
Hotels, Motels, and Resorts
The range of jobs in accommodations is extremely broad. The following list is representative: regional manager, general manager, resident manager, comptroller, accountants, management trainees, director of sales, director of convention sales, director of personnel, director of research, mail clerks, room clerks, reservation clerks, front-office manager, housekeepers, superintendent of service, bellhops, lobby porters, doormen, maids, chefs, cooks, kitchen helpers, storeroom employees, dishwashers, waiters, bartenders, apprentice waiters, heating and air-conditioning personnel, maintenance workers, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, painters, and laundry workers. Resorts tend to have the same jobs as those mentioned for hotels and motels; however, larger resorts will have greater job opportunities and require more assistants in all areas. Resorts also have a number of additional job opportunities in the areas of social events, entertainment, and recreation, such as for tennis and golf pros. At ski resorts there will be ski instructors, members of a safety patrol, and so on. The American Hotel and Lodging Association has launched the AH&LA Online Career Center, which lists open positions in the lodging industry. Visit its Web site at www.ahla.com and click on career center.
Global Distributions Systems and Online Companies
There are currently three large global distributions systems (GDS) companies and a number of smaller ones. GDSs are computer reservation systems that sell tickets for multiple airlines, book hotels, reserve rental cars, and conduct other transactions related to travel.The big three companies are Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport GDS, which includes the Galileo and Worldspan systems. They own some of the largest online travel companies, providing thousands of jobs. For example, Sabre has over 6,800 employees and also owns Travelocity. Other large online agencies are Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, CheapTickets, and Hotwire. In addition, many smaller companies provide services ranging from search to purchase. Some representative job titles are principal IT strategist, senior
software design engineer, network engineer, IT voice network engineer, director of software development, senior software design engineer, database developer, senior manager of strategy and marketing, marketing manager, sales manager, director of customer care, customer service quality director, customer service representative, marketing analyst, account manager, global recruiter, art director, fraud analyst, financial analyst, customer analyst, merchandising analyst, lodging operations manager, product manager, corporate counsel, and call center representative.
Travel agencies range from very small to very large businesses. There exist both online travel agencies and the traditional bricks-and-mortar agencies. The smaller businesses are very much like any other small business. Very few people carry out all the business operations, and jobs include secretarial, travel counseling, and managerial positions. In large offices, job opportunities are more varied and include branch manager, commercial account specialists, domestic travel counselors, international travel counselors, research directors, and advertising managers. Trainee group sales consultants, accountants, file clerks, sales personnel, tour planners, tour guides, reservationists, group coordinators, trainees, operations employees, administrative assistants, advertising specialists, and computer specialists are other possibilities.
Extracted by Charles R. Goeldner &J. R. Brent Ritchie’s Tourism Principles, Practices, Philosophies