Many of us like to travel. As humans, we have a natural, inherent urge to see new places and discover new cultures. And it’s this passion for the unknown that makes a career in tourism one of the most exciting of all. In fact, the World Travel & Tourism Council reports that 319 million people are employed in tourism; a figure which accounts for a whopping 10% of all total employment across the world.
But is a career in tourism as glamorous as we make ourselves believe? The truth is that, like roles within practically every other industry, travel and tourism jobs can be hard work. But for the right people — for those with a desire to learn and an ambition to go above and beyond — this sector can be the perfect fit.
If you’re considering venturing into this ever-growing industry, and you have a true passion for adventure and new experiences, here are 7 reasons why you should absolutely secure yourself a career in tourism:
1. You'll have an Immersive Study Experience
In many careers, you study, and then you practice. In tourism, however, the practice is all part of the study experience. The beauty of tourism is that it’s not a book-based industry; it’s very hands on and creative, which means that the best way to study is to be in the thick of it all.
Imagine you’re gaining your MBA in Leisure Tourism & Management. It’s not something that you can learn from a textbook. Instead, it’s something you learn from immersive study experiences in international schools from professors and business people with years of experience in the same area.
2. There are lots of doors
‘Tourism’ is a very broad term, and under the tourism umbrella, you’ll find a huge range of jobs which means that there are many possible doors or gateways into a tourism career. The good news for you is that, no matter where your strengths lie, or what your passions are, you should be able to find a position that suits your own unique talents.
‘Tourism’ covers everything from desk-based travel agents and holiday planners to hotel and cruise ship staff; from tour operators and expedition guides to air cabin crew; from sales and marketing executives to pilots, divers, heritage managers… The list is endless!
3. You'll learn transferable skills
While we all go into new careers with a positive outlook for the future, tourism won’t be right for everyone. And that’s OK. Sometimes, we need to try things to know that they’re not the right fit for us. In some industries, a career change can mean starting again from scratch, but that’s not always true in tourism. Why? Because tourism isn’t just about travel. It’s about education, marketing, entertainment, finances, cultural awareness… all highly valuable skills that can be transferred to other industries. Want to work in education instead? Experience as a local tour guide could really make your CV stand out.
4. It's flexible
Back in Dolly’s day, working 9 to 5 was the norm. Today, it’s a thing of the past. It all started, of course, with the rising adoption of cloud technologies and communications software which enabled businesses to implement remote and flexible working policies for their employees. However, the new generation of job seekers are looking for even more flexibility in their work schedules. And that’s exactly what you’ll find with a career in tourism. Tourism isn’t a 9-5, Monday-Friday industry; it’s an ‘always on’ sector where you have the choice to choose jobs where you’ll be working days, nights, weekends, weekdays… it's very flexible.
5. You'll see the World
Of course, one of the main reasons why people want a career in tourism is to see the world, and if you choose the right job, you can! There are many career paths that enable travel, giving you an opportunity to work from a single location abroad or even travel regularly as part of your job. Think about cruise ships, for example. There are many different roles on the vessels, including children’s staff, chefs, waiters, hotel staff, entertainers, doctors, destination experts… and they all travel from place to place, waking up to new sights every day. If you love experiencing new cultures, a career in tourism is perfect for you.
6. It's always changing
Do you hate the feeling of being stood still? Do you like to know that you’re always moving forward? That’s what many workers in the tourism industry really love about their jobs. Tourism is changing, and it’s changing on a daily basis. Just look at how much UK travel has changed over the years. The ‘Grand Tour’ era of the 1600s gave way to weekend trips to spa towns by the 18th century, which was again replaced with coastal beach holidays by the Industrial Revolution, the Government’s ‘holidays at home’ scheme during the war, and air travel by the 1960s. It’s an exciting sector where anything could be next.
7. You can make a difference
If you want to do more for the future of our planet and it's inhabitants, then a career in tourism is perhaps one of the most effective ways that people like you and me can make a difference. Roles in tourism enable us to take the necessary measures to protect diminishing cultures, to conserve the world’s wildlife, and implement travel processes and procedures that will ensure our children and grandchildren will be able to experience everything that we have.
Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, and it’s those individuals fuelling and facilitating change in the industry that are making it happen.
Do your research
As we can see, a career in tourism can be very rewarding. However, it’s important to remember that, unlike a medical career where you may go from a Foundation Doctor to a Speciality Registrar to a General Practitioner to a Consultant, tourism is not a structured career; there’s no linear path to the top.
So do your research. Take a look at the different types of job that fall under the tourism umbrella, and understand how each of these roles has its own pathway. By knowing what you want from a career in tourism, you’ll find it easier to find a career pathway that shows off your skills and makes you happy.
With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita has a 'super-power' of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she's also including her own experience from student and business life.