16 Careers in Tourism and How To Secure These Roles

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 December 2022

Published 31 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Careers in tourism let you participate in making people's holidays memorable. These jobs can be very rewarding and enjoyable as they mostly involve interacting with happy people spending time away from home. As these roles are customer-focused, they're a good choice for friendly people with strong customer service skills. In this article, we explain what careers in tourism are, including some of the most common roles, and how you can enter the tourism industry.

What are tourism careers?

Careers in tourism are jobs that provide the services travellers need while they're away from home. People in tourism help leisure and business travellers visiting locations within their own country or overseas. They make sure travellers have the best travel experience they can by keeping them happy, entertained and cared for.

Related: 40 Popular Jobs That Travel

11 careers in tourism

Jobs in tourism typically involve working in transport, accommodation, restaurants, pubs and tourist attractions. Here are some of the jobs in the tourism sector:

1. Tour guide

National average salary: $40,098 per year

Primary duties: A tour guide leads tour groups around touring destinations or attractions. They point out places of interest and share information about the site's history and culture.

2. Room attendant

National average salary: $49,291 per year

Primary duties: A room attendant cleans and services guest rooms in hotels, motels, resorts and cruise ships. They make the beds, replenish toiletries and the minibar and clean and tidy rooms so they are pleasant for guests.

3. Porter

National average guide: $49,323 per year

Primary duties: A porter collects luggage from travellers and takes it to their transport or room. They also direct travellers to their rooms. Porters work in hotels and resorts, airport and cruise terminals and cruise ships.

4. Travel consultant

National average guide: $52,018 per year

Primary duties: A travel consultant, sometimes called a travel agent, helps people arrange their travel plans so their holidays or business trips run smoothly. They suggest itineraries and book transport, accommodation and tours. They also follow up with their clients after their trips to ensure they felt satisfied with their time away.

Related:

  • How To Become a Travel Agent

  • What Does a Corporate Travel Manager Do? A Definitive Guide

5. Flight attendant

National average guide: $53,143 per year

Primary duties: A flight attendant makes sure passengers are comfortable and safe during domestic and international flights. They give safety demonstrations, serve food and beverages and help passengers safely stow their hand luggage and personal belongings.

6. Ski instructor

National average salary: $56,359 per year

Primary duties: A ski instructor teaches people to ski and improve their technique. They supervise skiers to reduce their risk of injury.

7. Chef

National average salary: $59,852 per year

Primary duties: A chef prepares and cooks meals for diners. They work in various tourism locations including restaurants, cafes, clubs, entertainment venues, tourist attractions, hotels, resorts and cruise ships.

Related: How To Become a Sous Chef

8. Concierge

National average salary: $61,640 per year

Primary duties: A concierge makes arrangements for hotel guests to ensure they have a pleasant stay. They may recommend restaurants and local attractions, book taxis and restaurant reservations and arrange dry cleaning.

9. Park ranger

National average salary: $62,649 per year

Primary duties: A park ranger teaches visitors to wildlife parks and national parks about the facilities. They lead tour groups and give talks about the park's animals and plants. They may also participate in or develop conservation and breeding programs.

10. Guest service agent

National average salary: $64,041 per year

Primary duties: A guest service agent greets guests when they arrive at a motel, hotel or resort and checks them in to the accommodation. They outline the accommodation's facilities and send basic items, like extra coat hangers or glasses, to guest rooms. They also process payments to settle guest bills at the end of their stay.

11. Bartender

National average salary: $67,045 per year

Primary duties: Bartenders prepare and serve alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages to patrons. They work in various tourism locations including standalone pubs and bars, clubs, entertainment venues, hotels and cruise ships.

5 highest-paying jobs in tourism

As salaries vary between employers and locations, it's challenging to determine the highest-paying job in tourism. However, management roles are always among the highest-paying positions in this sector. Here are some of the highest paying jobs in tourism:

1. Hotel manager

National average salary: $76,557 per year

Primary duties: A hotel manager ensures the hotel runs smoothly so guests enjoy the best experience. They develop and communicate hotel policies, work with suppliers, hire new employees and develop and monitor hotel budgets.

2. Event manager

National average salary: $85,394 per year

Primary duties: An event manager plans and coordinates events, such as festivals, concerts and trade shows. They are responsible for all elements of the event including venues, ticketing, employees, food and beverages and media coverage. They may work independently or for tourism companies including tourism boards, exhibition centres and museums.

3. Pilot

National average salary: $87,170 per year

Primary duties: A pilot operates a plane or helicopter to make sure passengers reach their destinations safely. Pilots may take passengers to their holiday destinations or take them on joy flights around scenic locations.

Related: How to Become a Pilot in Australia

4. Gallery manager

National average salary: $90,127 per year

Primary duties: A gallery manager helps an art gallery run smoothly for the best visitor experience. They decide which pieces are part of the gallery's permanent collection and organise travelling exhibitions and events. They also hire and train gallery employees, including ticket collectors and tour guides.

5. Executive chef

National average salary: $99,001 per year

Primary duties: An executive chef manages a kitchen. They hire and train staff, create menus and set the schedules and budgets that keep their kitchens running smoothly.

How can I make a career in tourism?

Developing your customer service skills and pursuing qualifications after high school are the best ways to prepare for a career in tourism. You can develop your customer service skills with many common jobs for teenagers, such as working in retail or the fast-food industry. Become a retail assistant or server lets you practise interacting with customers and fulfilling their requests.

Formal qualifications are optional for many careers in tourism. However, getting tourism qualifications after high school can give you an advantage over other candidates. They also teach you more about the tourism industry. You can apply this knowledge as you advance through your career.

What can I study with tourism?

A range of vocational qualifications and degrees can help you secure a career in tourism. Here are some of the most popular:

Certificate III in Tourism

Completing a Certificate III in Tourism takes two years of full-time study, or the part-time equivalent. During this time, you can gain the skills and knowledge you need to work in tourism operations, visitor information services or hotel guest services. Topics include:

  • Itinerary planning

  • Tourism visitor information

  • Destination and attractions

  • Accommodation guest services

  • Tourism promotion, including social media

  • Tourism reservations and technology

Certificate III in Arts Administration

The arts industry is a key part of the tourism sector. If you're interested in working as a gallery or museum tour guide, tourism information officer or arts event organiser, this vocational certificate may suit you best. Topics in this one-year program include:

  • Tour preparation and presentation

  • Service delivery and monitoring

  • Tourism business technology

  • Visitor information and assistance

  • Arts tourism marketing

Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management

If you aspire to a management role, consider a Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management. Completing this vocational course takes one year of full-time study. Completing a Certificate III in Tourism is good preparation for this course. Its topics include:

  • Tourism management and operations

  • Customer service

  • Tourism marketing

  • Finance and budget preparation

  • Product management

Bachelor of Tourism

A Bachelor of Tourism is a more in-depth course catering to people interested in advancing in the tourism industry. Completing a Bachelor of Tourism takes three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. This course provides high-level information about the business of tourism. Topics include:

  • Tourism theories and concepts

  • Tourism management

  • Visitor services

  • Economics and global impacts on the tourism sector

  • Tourism marketing

  • Niche tourism

  • Risk management and legal issues

  • Visitor experience design

  • Tourism strategy and leadership

  • The future of tourism

Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management

If you aspire to a management role overseas, a Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management may suit you best. Completing a Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management takes three years of full-time study or the part-time equivalent. During this time, you'll get a high-level insight into the global tourism industry and its business practices. Topics include:

  • Tourism and hotel management

  • Risk management in tourism and hospitality

  • Tourism systems

  • Business decision-making

  • Financial management for tourism and hotels

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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