You'll need strong people skills and the ability to perform under pressure to work in the travel and tourism industry. Explore the routes you could take to get started
Travel and tourism degrees
You don’t need a degree to get a job in the travel and tourism industry, but any relevant qualification can help your application to stand out. A degree will also be useful if you wish to pursue a management position.
Courses will vary but all will cover similar topics including risk analysis, visitor attraction management, local economies and cultures and sustainability. Examples of degrees include:
- BSc Business with Tourism Management
- BSc Tourism Management
- BA International Hospitality and Tourism Management
- BA International Tourism and Events Management
One example is the University of West London’s full-time BSc International Tourism Management course that takes three years to complete. You'll need BBC at A-level, in addition to a grade 4 (C) or above in GCSE English and maths. The first two years feature compulsory modules including delivering the customer experience and worldwide tourist destinations, followed by a third-year placement with a tourism business. The final year includes a dissertation and several optional modules such as tourism risk and opportunities. UK students pay £9,250 per year.
The University of Wolverhampton's BA Business and Tourism Management takes three years if studied full time or six years part time, and you need CCC or BCD at A-level. The first year is split into modules on digital business and the information systems that support digital businesses. The second year focuses on destination marketing and management in tourism, including the increased complexities and trends. The final year deals with the management and sustainability of tourism during world events that negatively impact it. UK students pay £9,250 per year.
See what you can do with a travel and tourism degree.
Postgraduate travel and tourism courses
A postgraduate degree isn’t necessary for a job in the travel and tourism industry but studying a Masters degree can boost your prospects when looking to progress your career.
Some examples of courses include:
- MSc Tourism Management
- MSc Sustainable Tourism
- MSc Tourism and Hospitality Management
For example, the University of Sunderland offers the MSc Tourism and Hospitality that can be taken part time or full time, lasting two years or one year respectively. This course features five modules, starting with tourism concepts and issues, research methods for the service sector, hospitality management studies, current practices in the visitor economy, and finishing with the tourism and hospitality major project. You'll need a 2:2 degree or equivalent and the fee is £7,000 for UK students.
The University of East London's MSc Sustainable Tourism Development and Management takes one year of full-time study or two years part time. The course includes modules such as:
- culture heritage and creativity in tourism
- destination governance and tourism planning for resilience and sustainability
- innovation, entrepreneurship and regenerative tourism economies.
In your final year you'll do a research dissertation. You'll need at least a 2:2 in business, tourism or hospitality, and the fee is £12,120 for UK students.
The University of Greenwich's MA International Tourism and Hospitality Management can be taken full time in a year or part time over two years, requiring at least a 2:2 degree. You'll cover compulsory modules such as strategic financial planning and research methods. To complete the Masters you'll need to choose between an internship and consultancy project or a dissertation.
Search postgraduate courses in tourism.
Professional travel and tourism qualifications
A professional qualification in travel and tourism involves undertaking vocational training that focuses on developing the practical skills required for a specific job role, with these courses widely recognised for their quality within the industry. You could take a professional qualification as an alternative to university or to complement it.
One example is the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH) that offers a range of management, culinary and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes including:
- Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Hospitality Practice
- Level 4 Diploma in Tourism Management
- Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management
- Level 6 Professional Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management
- Level 7 Executive Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management
The Institute of Hospitality also has a couple of qualifications to offer at foundation and undergraduate level, for example:
- Level 3 Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Level 4 Diploma in Advanced Hospitality and Tourism Management
Travel and tourism jobs
There are many professions in the travel and tourism industry that you can consider depending on your skills, qualifications and experience. Some examples include:
- Air cabin crew
- Event manager
- Holiday representative
- Tour manager
- Tourism officer
- Travel agency manager
- Venue/accommodation manager
Here are some of the UK travel and tourism companies you could work for:
Work experience is a great way to show your commitment to a career in the industry and strengthen your application. This could be in the form of an internship or volunteering.
Social media networking is also a good way to build up industry contacts.
Find out more
- Learn more about the leisure, sport and tourism sector.
- Search for graduate jobs in leisure, sport and tourism.