Tourism and Travel Careers

Planning for a career in any area of tourism is an excellent investment in your future. As the fastest growing industry in the world, new job opportunities are being created and the diversity of skills needed to fill these positions span a wide range of interests and abilities. Your future is only limited by your ambition and the Hospitality and Tourism Training Programme is an excellent way to get started.

If interested, you can find a career in this dynamic industry, full of opportunities for mobility, creativity, and diversity. Career choices can be found in its many different sectors that include: accommodation; attractions; food & beverage; transportation; adventure tourism; events & conferences; tourism services; and the travel trade.

Hospitality and hotel Industry: These make up a vastly diversified segment of the tourism Industry. Most hotels and resorts offer far more than just accommodation and the positions available in them can range from hotel management and front desk staff to house cleaning, food and beverage, catering and banquet staff, restaurant personnel and even grounds maintenance crews.

Many resorts and hotels are part of a worldwide chain which can often afford an employee the ability to travel the world by transferring from one hotel location to another.

The potential for job opportunities within the hospitality and hotel Industry is not only diversified but the chances for advancement are excellent.

Cruise ships: Another diversified segment of the tourism Industry is the cruise line business. This exciting and often glamorous industry is growing by leaps and bounds and newer and larger vessels are being built each year to meet the increased demands of cruise line travellers. These ships are nothing short of floating hotels and require people to fill positions for all of the same types of jobs that would traditionally be associated with any hotel or resort.

Airline industry: This has the reputation of being the “glamour” segment of the tourism Industry. The jet-set life style of airline pilots and flight attendants immediately captures the imagination of many young people seeking a career in tourism. But the diverse opportunities throughout the airline industry cover a vast array of jobs that are often overlooked, working for a major airline in its reservation centre or as a ticket agent at the airport for instance. Baggage handlers and airline mechanics or air traffic controllers are other possibilities.

In the private sector many helicopter or fixed wing tour businesses provide excellent opportunities for airline industry jobs.

Service & Tourism Industry: Tourism is first and foremost a service industry. Dealing with the public and providing customer service is an integral part of any tourism industry job, no matter what segment it might fall into.

Restaurant and Food & Beverage: This segment of the tourism industry is often referred to simply as service and provides many job opportunities for those seeking work in this field.

The list of jobs related to the tourism industry is endless, travel agents, activity provider companies, tour operators, retail store businesses, tourism bureau operations, ferries, rail and bus lines, cruise ships, car hire companies and caravan parks to name only a few.

Personal Requirements

  • able to work with all kinds of people
  • good communication skills
  • excellent knowledge of South Africa’s places of interest, geography, its unique history, politics and flora and fauna
  • organisational skills
  • able to control groups of people and deal with unexpected situations

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: English, Mathematics (for BCom degree)
Recommended Subjects: Tourism, Geography

What to Study

Degree: Tourism Management - Monash, UZ.

Diploma: N.Dip: Tourism Management or Travel & Tourism - NMMU, UNISA, DUT, CPUT, CUT, UJ, TUT, VUT.

Certificate: Tourism - TVET colleges such as Boland, Ekurhuleni West, Port Elizabeth, Vuselela, Tshwane S, Northlink, South and Northern Cape, SW Gauteng and Umgungundlovu TVET Colleges.


  • game farms
  • guest houses
  • holiday resorts
  • hotel groups
  • game lodges
  • entertainment places
  • SA Tourism Board

Some Careers in the Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Industry:

Entry level:
No tertiary education after high school graduation:

  • Guest Service Clerk
  • Housekeeping Maid
  • Host/Hostess
  • Establishment Guide
  • Lodging Facilities Attendant
Technical, diploma taken:
  • Guest House Manager
  • Housekeeping Manager
  • Hospitality Supervisor
  • Social Director
  • Travel Guide
Professional, college or university course completed:
  • Hotel / Motel Manager
  • Convention Coordinator
  • Recreation Director
  • Executive Housekeeper
  • Recreation Centre Director
Other career job titles in this industry include:
  • Accommodation Service Manager
  • Conference and Event Planner
  • Restaurant and Food Services Manager
  • Tourism Development Officer
  • Transportation Manager
  • Travel Counsellor

Further Information

Association of SA Travel Agents (ASATA)
Suite 6, Lower Ground Floor, Block A,
Hurlingham Office Park
59 Woodlands Avenue (just off Republic Rd)
Hurlingham Extension 5
Tel: (011) 327-7803

Tourism Business Council (TBCSA)
P O Box 11655
Centurion, 0046
Tel: (012) 654-7525

South African Tourism Board (SATOUR)
Private Bag X10012
Sandton, 2146
Tel: (011) 895-3000

Getting Started

  • investigate the wide range of opportunities provided by the tourism industry by speaking to people working in the different sectors
  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a tourist resort or travel agency

Programmes by Study Institutions

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