Dr Brigitte Stangl is a lecturer in tourism and the programme leader in international tourism management BSc at the University of Surrey. She shares her experience as a tourism lecturer and helping students, as part of our first #MyTourismJob day – taking place on the last Thursday of every month.
It is well known that the tourism industry is an economic driver, contributing more than 270 million jobs worldwide. Despite negative events such as natural disasters, political riots and energy crises, tourism has grown for decades, proving its potential and ability to generate economic growth.
The importance of the industry as a pillar of the global economy and the dynamics of the field resulting from advances in technology, both in communications and infrastructure, makes the market extremely competitive, calling for well-educated suppliers, managers and leaders. The fact that customers are becoming more travel-experienced and knowledgeable, making them more demanding, adds to the significance of managers with a solid theoretical knowledge base and practical experience. In order to succeed as a tourism supplier, understanding customers, high service quality, innovation and knowledge about adding value to the travel experience are key.
The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) offered students one of the first tourism programmes acknowledging the sector’s need for in-depth knowledge. The entire supply chain of tourism services needs to be delivered at a highly professional level. Nowadays the market is so competitive that it is essential to understand customers’ needs and desires to be able to add value to their travel experience. In order to stand out between the huge numbers of suppliers, clever offline and online communication and marketing strategies are vital. Customers are not looking for one single travel product but for an entire experience which forces suppliers to build strategic alliances to be able to offer an attractive package. Also, given the fragile environment of various destinations, well-thought-through management strategies are required to offer a sustainable service.
This status quo of the tourism industry makes it quite obvious that employees at all levels can only deliver at the required standards if they have undergone intensive education including on-the-job training. Thus, students who finish their degree at SHTM are highly sought after by various tourism stakeholders such as hotels, travel agents/tour operators, airlines, and other transport providers, as well as event and professional congress organizers. As tourism is a service sector, a degree from SHTM provides a solid education which goes beyond tourism – SHTM graduates are often welcomed by organisations outside tourism; for instance marketing, non-governmental, retail and the financial sector.
Achieving a degree in tourism requires commitment and hard work, however it pays off by significantly enhancing career prospects.
Read more about tourism careers on our #MyTourismJob Tumblr blog.