A Career Guide for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Major

The hospitality and tourism industry is critical to the world, national, and regional economy. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts that the industry and its affiliates will generate 10.6% of the global gross domestic product in 2005 and will support over 221.5 million jobs for 8.3% of total employment. Moreover, demand is projected to grow by 5.4% in 2005 and by 4.6% per annum from 2006 through 2015. Nationally, the WTTC predicts that the nation’s third largest industry will account for 10.8% of the gross domestic product in 2005, and will support almost 17 million jobs accounting for 11.9% of total employment. Demand is expected to grow by 5.6% in 2005, and by 4.0% per annum from 2006 through 2015. On a statewide level, Florida ranked number two overall in terms of total spending by domestic and international travelers, earning approximately $57 billion in 2004 from a record number 76.8 million visitors.

The industry is generally recognized as being comprised of four key segments: foodservice, airlines, recreation and lodging, with many students choosing the meetings and events management and property management segments as well. Positions are also available in attractions, senior living facilities, tourism businesses, and government, to name a few.  In addition to management jobs, professional positions are available in areas such as sales and marketing, human resources, accounting, and management information systems.

The hospitality and tourism industry is becoming more complex. Accordingly, demand is increasing for college-educated managers. According to the 2004-05 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor, “college graduates with degrees in hotel or restaurant management should have the best job opportunities” in the industry.

Accordingly, the Hospitality and Tourism Management major at Florida Atlantic University offers students a solid educational experience. The curriculum begins with a broad foundation in liberal arts and focuses on social sciences, biological sciences, and quantitative skills. Hospitality and Tourism Management majors typically take fundamental business courses (economics, accounting, and business statistics) during their first two years, then their major courses along with the business core courses in their third and fourth years. The program also requires a field work component as part of the curriculum, which enables graduates to be prepared for the job market.

In addition to coursework and field work experiences, students can gain additional exposure to the industry through membership in the Hospitality Management Society. The Society, open to all FAU students, hosts a variety of guest speakers, sponsors on-site tours of leading hospitality sites, and organizes events such as an annual industry/student reception. Members also travel to New York City every November to participate in the International Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Show, and to Walt Disney World every spring.

The following Interests and Aptitudes/Qualities are associated with or needed for success in the study of this major.

  • Diversity at all levels
  • Working with and managing people
  • Travel and tourism
  • Being active in professional associations
  • Keeping up on industry trends
  • Working in an energetic environment
  • Quality service management
  • Both internal and external marketing
  • Globalization
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • High energy level
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize


  • Sharp critical thinking skills
  • Computer literate
  • Well developed organizational skills


  • Good time management skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Leadership experience and ability


Students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management must complete all University and College of Business requirements for the baccalaureate degree, including 21 credit hours of course work in hospitality management, along with at least 1,000 hours of approved field work experience.


The following are examples of positions often held by Hospitality and Tourism Management graduates:

Lodging and Resorts

General Manager
Resident Manager
Executive Housekeeper
Front Office Manager
Guest Services Manager
Convention Services Manager
Assistant Manager
Director of Sales
Human Resources Director

Food Service

General Manager
Assistant Manager
Executive Chef
Banquet Manager
Food and Beverage Director
Catering Manager
Meetings and Events Management

Convention Sales Manager
Conference Services Manager
Special Events Manager

Recreation Management

Director of Recreation and Leisure
Spa Manager
Parks Manager
Theme Park Manager
Golf Course Manager

Club Management

General Manager
Assistant Manager
Property Management

Condominium Manager
Property Manager
Social Director

Note: Some of the above professions will require advanced study or training.


For information about choosing a career, graduate/ professional school, internships or job descriptions, and for career library resources, contact:

Career Development Center
Boca Raton Campus - Student Services Building, Room 220 (SU 220)

Davie Campus - Modular G

Jupiter Campus - SR 110

For information about choosing a major and concentration and degree requirements, contact:

Barry Kaye College of Business
Boca Raton Campus, Flemming West, Room 102 (FW 102)

Davie Campus, Liberal Arts Building, Room 444 (LA 444)

Department of Marketing
Boca Raton Campus, Barry Kaye College of Business Room 125, (BUS 125)

The Career Guide series was developed by the Florida Atlantic University Career Development Center, Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and in cooperation with the Barry Kaye College of Business and the Department of Marketing.

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