The travel and tourism industry is set to expand again this year, with forecasted 4.3% growth for the sector in 2014, and to outperform overall world GDP growth for the third consecutive year. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, consumer spending is on the rise again as the world economy recovers, with impacts to be seen in more long haul journeys, more expensive trips and more international tourism.

Pic: Students at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School

High on the agenda in the travel industry is Chinese tourism. Almost 100 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2013 and this number is expected to rise to 200 million by 2018. Last week, US President Barack Obama announced a new plan to streamline the entry process for foreign visitors to reduce waiting times and boost the number of tourists visiting the US.

As new trends emerge and consumer attitudes change, the industry needs to adapt to ensure the product it delivers is still of the highest standard and fulfils its clients’ expectations. As this report highlights, Chinese tourists who used to travel in groups and on guided tours are now increasingly opting for individual travel, with ‘adventure’ travel popular among a younger generation keen to see the world and explore the unknown.

The travel and hospitality industry must adapt to these new trends and gain a more nuanced understanding of the preferences and expectations of these new travellers to provide the best service possible. Although Chinese tourists make up a big proportion of this new market, industry professionals around the world are concerned with adapting to new trends in general, as many other countries are benefitting from more flight connections, cheaper holiday packages and the ability to travel further and discover new countries.

Pic: Students at the Hotel School Sydney

Around the world, the travel and tourism industry generates one of the highest levels of employment, from reception employees to senior management staff and from waiters to entertainers. In 2012, the industry sustained 260 million jobs in the world, which meant that for the first time one in 11 of all jobs in the world are now supported by the Travel and Tourism sector.

Understanding tourism, therefore, is crucial to those who want a career in this challenging industry, which is why many schools and universities now offer programmes highly specialised in areas of tourism and event management.

As with many other industries, a solid experience of the workplace will be highly regarded in the hospitality and tourism sectors as employers value students who can demonstrate their ability to take on a challenge. Work experience is always a great way to find out more about a particular organisation and see from the inside what it is really like to work there. Attraction parks, five-star hotels, cruise ships, travel agencies: all offer plenty of opportunities to work and learn alongside professionals.

Choosing hospitality and tourism programmes is never easy as so many variables can come in to play: from the school’s reputation to the courses offered, and from the location – crucial for those looking to network and start their careers as they are studying – to the opportunities to travel or gain work experience during the course of the degrees.

Below is our latest review of travel and tourism programmes for international students:

SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT AND TOURISM – DUBLIN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, IRELAND
The School of Hospitality Management and Tourism at the Dublin Institute of Technology is Ireland’s centre of excellence in Hospitality, Tourism, Events and Leisure management and Ireland’s largest provider of hospitality and tourism education.  With close links to industry, the school provides students with opportunities to complete six-month internships as part of their course, in Ireland or anywhere around  the globe. The School offers bachelors and masters programmes to students from all over the world and  100% of our graduates are employed or in further study. Ireland’s capital, Dublin, is an excellent place to pursue hospitality studies as it hosts major international hotel chains and world-class meeting and convention facilities, providing graduates with many professional opportunities. Read the full profile here…

Pic: Graduating students at Dublin Institute of Technology

BLUE MOUNTAINS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MANAGEMENT SCHOOL – SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School has been offering hotel and event management programs since 1991. Its particular program of study prepares students for successful careers, through 2 years of study on the Leura campus, which is designed to simulate a hotel environment and allows students to learn through experience. In their third year, undergraduate students join the Sydney campus to learn the business component of the degree. Hands-on experience is at the heart of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School’s commitment to success and graduates leave with practical knowledge of the various roles they could pursue in their career.

IMI UNIVERSITY CENTRE – LUZERNE, SWITZERLAND
IMI University Centre is a private hospitality management institute with strong international connections. Labeling this hospitality school ‘prestigious’ is underselling it. No more than 220 students are admitted each year, ensuring an excellent student to teacher ratio, personalized instruction and the chance to collaborate with some of the sharpest up-and-coming hospitality professionals in the world. Read the full profile here…

HOTEL SCHOOL SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
The Hotel School Sydney began operating in 1989 as part of five-star hotel Intercontinental Sydney and in partnership with Southern Cross University. Since then it has been offering hands-on courses to students who fully benefit from their close relationships with tourism organisations in Australia and abroad. The Hotel School Sydney unique degree prepares students form all over the world to careers in hospitality management and equip them with industry-relevant skills, creative approaches and academic rigour. Located in the heart of the Harbour, the Hotel School offers students direct access to industry and many opportunities to gain work experience whilst they are studying.

GLION INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, SWITZERLAND
Glion Institute of Higher Education is an international hospitality management institution based in Switzerland which offers online degree programs to busy professionals looking to enhance their qualifications and take their career further. Every year, Glion provides education to approximately 1,500 students from more than 90 countries around the world. All graduates go on to successfully work in hotel management. Glion is ranked number 2 among all international hospitality management schools for an international career (TNS Global Survey).