The Tourism and Hospitality Industry: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook
The Tourist and Hospitality industry encompasses a vast range of business activities whose primary goal is to satisfy the needs of tourists. It includes hospitality and accommodation facilities, companies that organize and market tourism offerings, as well as all businesses providing services to tourists.
An enormous variety of professions are involved in the tourism and hospitality industry, including holiday representatives, holiday couriers and resort staff responsible for meeting and welcoming guests and organizing and leading activities and entertainment at holiday resorts and tourist destinations, tour guides who take tourists on excursions and sightseeing visits, tour operator and travel agency personnel who organize holidays and make holiday bookings, as well as staff and management at hotels and other tourist accommodation.
The sector also includes people who accompany tourists as they travel to their destinations, such as flight attendants, as well as tour leaders, tour couriers and tour escorts who accompany groups of holidaymakers on organized tours.
The basic requirement to work in the hospitality industry - whether in a hospitality establishment such as a hotel, holiday resort or holiday village, where possible roles include waiter, room attendant, receptionist and food and beverage manager, or in some other tourist-related role - is a professional diploma in hospitality or tourism.
Candidates looking to enhance their employment prospects can choose to enrol on a specialist course in hospitality management, travel management, destination management, meeting, conference and event management, or web marketing for tourism.
The majority of job vacancies in the Tourism and Hospitality industry tend to be concentrated in tourist destinations. These may be situated by the sea, in alpine resorts, or in other popular or attractive locations or settings, such as in historic towns and cities, where visitor attractions include museums, monuments and archaeological sites, or in areas of great natural beauty. Job vacancies in these areas typically experience a seasonal spike connected with the higher influx of visitors during peak holiday seasons.
What types of businesses operate in the Tourism and Hospitality industry?
Most workers in the Tourism and Hospitality industry are employed in hotels and similar establishments.
There are also, however, employment opportunities in other tourist accommodation facilities, including holiday resorts, holiday parks, bed & breakfasts, hostels, campsites and agritourism farms.
The tourism and hospitality sector also includes the various companies and businesses that organize and conduct tours and package holidays (tour operators), take and manage people’s holiday bookings (travel agencies), as well as organizations that provide assistance and support to visiting holidaymakers (tourist boards and similar organizations).
Companies hiring in the Tourism and Hospitality industry:
Tourism and Hospitality Industry - Trends and Job Outlook
Given the large number of hospitality and accommodation establishments and businesses providing tourist services, employment and career prospects in the Tourism and Hospitality industry are good.
Globally, the industry is both expanding and changing. Travel is becoming easier, with the rise of low-cost airlines and the spread of online booking services leading to an increase in the number of tourists, thus driving growth in the sector and improving employment prospects. In addition, the growing number of options available to consumers in terms of destination is increasing levels of competition, forcing companies to adapt their offer to satisfy the needs of a changing market.
Alongside traditional tourist industry roles, such as holiday representative and hotel receptionist, for which demand remains high, recent years have seen the emergence of a number of new professions (including travel designers and experts in a number of niche segments such as experiential tourism, sustainable tourism, cultural tourism and food tourism), who specialise in creating unique, personalized travel itineraries that promise clients the holiday of a lifetime. Another emerging role in the hotel industry is the revenue manager or pricing manager, whose job is to adjust hotel room prices using online booking systems and advanced software applications, with the aim of maximizing revenue and matching supply and demand as efficiently as possible.
Finally, hospitality and tourism is no stranger to innovation and new technology and in fact the sector is increasingly looking for new ways to harness the potential of the internet and social media. As a result, there are currently a significant number of vacancies for digital and web professionals capable of developing and implementing web marketing strategies for tourist resorts and destinations - an activity that calls for highly specialized skills that need to be regularly reviewed and updated.
What skills are required in the Tourism and Hospitality industry?
The main aim of a tourism or hospitality business is to satisfy the needs of its visitors. This means meeting high standards of quality in order to ensure that tourists have an enjoyable time, both while travelling and during their stay.
In-demand skills and attributes in the Tourism and Hospitality industry include:
Today’s tourists are both increasingly well-informed and demanding. Accordingly, more than ever before, the people responsible for welcoming and looking after guests during their stay need to make sure they are polite and ready to help at all times with any questions or problems. Strong communication skills will help staff ensure that they satisfy the customer’s expectations and enable them to provide a quality service that meets the standards applicable to the sector.
Knowledge of foreign languages
The ability to communicate with international tourists in one or more foreign languages is an essential skill, which is often specifically requested in many job vacancies.
Dealing with problems and complaints
The ability to promptly resolve problems and booking errors and deal with complaints in a polite and professional manner is an essential skill in the Tourism and Hospitality industry, which can help to ensure customer expectations are met, protect brand reputation and avoid negative online feedback.