How to Develop a Career in Tourism

The travel or tourism industry encompasses several types of jobs from service to executive positions. Different areas are available to work in as well, such as operating tours, booking travel arrangements, or planning events for travelers. Although the duties and typical tasks of these jobs can vary, they usually require good customer service and communication skills and the ability to work well with others. Having the right qualifications for a tourism-related job can help start or continue a career in the field. Try these steps to develop a career in tourism.


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    Research jobs related to the tourism or travel industry.
    • Search online for information on possible jobs in tourism. Try looking for travel industry websites or sites that go into detail about travel/tourism careers or occupations.
    • Ask your family, friends, and other acquaintances about jobs in the tourism industry. Talk to your school's guidance counselor or career services professional if applicable.
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    Narrow your focus to jobs or fields within the industry that attract you. If you enjoy making and recommending travel arrangements, for example, you may want to explore a career as a travel agent.
    • Consider using existing skills to help you find a job in the tourism industry. Being able to speak a foreign language, for example, may lead you to doing translating for tourists.
    • Another way to target jobs in tourism is to visit websites for specific companies that you would like to work for. These websites may include those for hotels, cruise lines or travel publications. Look for a section on the website that lists jobs or employment opportunities.
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    Learn the necessary qualifications for the jobs or fields that interest you. If you are just starting out in the industry, you may want to look for an entry-level job that has fewer educational or training requirements.
    • Look for occupational information from a local library, your school's career resources, or elsewhere to find general requirements for particular jobs.
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    Get education, training or other experience to supplement your qualifications.
    • Consider getting a degree related to tourism or travel from a college (university) or obtaining a certificate from a vocational school.
    • Rely on prior job experience to transfer to an identical or similar job in the travel/tourism industry. Receptionists, for instance, can work in many career fields, including tourism.
    • Volunteer or do an internship for an organization related to travel or tourism. Examples include a chamber of commerce or a local visitors' attraction in your area.
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    Stay current with developments in the tourism or travel industry. Read magazines about traveling or about the industry itself to get the latest news.
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    Improve technological or other important job-related skills, such as accounting or verbal communication, by taking classes if necessary.
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    Join 1 or more professional associations for people in the travel/tourism industry. This can be a way to meet new people and gain contacts that may help you get a job or get promoted in your tourism career.


  • Being detailed, enthusiastic, and understanding of cultural differences are a few of the personal qualities that can help you deal with customers or co-workers in a travel or tourism career.
  • Benefits of a career in tourism/travel may include discounts when taking personal vacations and better insight into what activities to pursue at your destination(s).


  • Be aware that working in tourism or travel may be seasonal or require long hours or an unusual work schedule.
  • You could feel isolated if you work directly with travelers who are constantly arriving and departing.

Things You'll Need

  • Research on jobs or career fields
  • Personal preferences and skills
  • Needed qualifications for job or career
  • Education and/or training
  • Hands-on experience
  • Travel publications
  • Professional associations

Article Info

Categories: Subjects | Geography