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Tourism Management

The Breakdown

Are you fascinated by the inner workings of hotels?  Do you take copious notes whenever you see a commercial for a cruise line?  Does the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” leave you feeling upbeat and happy?  If your answer is an unequivocal and enthusiastic “yes” then perhaps tourism management is the course of study for you!

Often paired with hospitality, a major in tourism management teaches you all about the business of travel and tourism.  Through a variety of courses in marketing, operations and event management, you’ll learn how to navigate this industry.  Of course, you’ll also be expected to know about the world around you.  Therefore, you’ll likely take some classes in geography, political science and/or a foreign language.  It’s also common for majors to study abroad.  Finally, as an added bonus, most tourism management programs require their students to complete an internship so you’ll graduate with some practical experience and a line for your resume.  

Strong communication skills are paramount for any tourism management major.  You should also be a person who is open to new cultures, ideas and different ways of thinking.  And, of course, it’s certainly beneficial to be a people person.  Finally you should probably not suffer from pteromerhanophobia (i.e., fear of flying).


Nuts and Bolts

 As a tourism management major, you’ll learn how to master the industry through classes such as: Travel Operations and Planning, Tourism Development, Tourism Transportation Systems, Tourism and Commercial Recreation, Visitor Behavior, Resource Based Tourism, Ecotourism, Dynamics of the Cruise Industry, Winter Resort and Adventure Management, Geography of the British Isles, Geography of Latin America, and Aviation and Airline Industry Management.


Decisions, Decisions

It’s probably a safe bet to say that tourism management majors are interested in business, travel and other cultures.  Therefore, they also would likely enjoy studying geography, international business, international relations, advertising, economics, political science, hospitality, marketing, public relations, Asian studies, American studies, Latin American studies, African studies, Slavic studies, history, and recreation and leisure studies.

What's Next

A degree in tourism management can lend itself to a handful of fascinating and fun career options.  To begin with, one natural next step is to become a travel agent.  As a travel agent, you’ll advise clients on destinations, accommodations and important administrative items/tasks such as exchanging money, renewing passports, etc.  Another possible employment option is finding a job with a tourism bureau.  Here, you’ll help advertise and promote your city/destination.  You can recommend places to stay, offer itineraries and suggest local attractions and establishments.  Additionally, you might work for a tour company that puts together travel packages for customers.  And you could certainly find a job doing marketing or operations at a resort, convention center or casino.  Many tourism management majors also find employment with hotels, cruise lines, airports/airlines and even federal agencies like the National Parks Service.  No matter where your degree ultimately takes you, you can guarantee your job will put you in touch with a number of fun and fascinating people.



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Don Munce