Travel & Tourism in the UK

Government Affairs Director at the British Hospitality Association, Vernon Hunte, tells i-studentglobal what makes the UK a great study destination for hospitality and tourism students from around the world.

Travel and tourism is one of the 21st century’s most dynamic industries — it is growing and it is international. And with over 30 universities in the UK alone offering three and four-year degree and postgraduate courses in various aspects of hospitality, travel and tourism — as well as 200 or so other colleges offering specialised craft courses — the UK is a great place to study for a career in an industry that offers almost unlimited, worldwide opportunities.

All the degree courses include periods of work experience so that graduates are able to understand the pressures that they will be working under once they leave college. When they enter the industry, the major companies have training and development schemes to ensure that the graduates they hire can reach their full potential.

In other cases, companies take on talented people without a qualification or with a qualification in another discipline — in which case, they join the in-house company training scheme.

In the UK, hospitality and tourism employ 4.5 million people and are a lynchpin of the UK economy, creating one in five of all new jobs since 2010. It is the fourth largest industry representing 10% of GDP, equivalent to £143 billion and accounts for more than 12% of British service sector exports.. With 34% of the hospitality and tourism workforce under the age of 25, three times the proportion of under 25s working across the economy as a whole, we have enormous potential to help create a young skilled workforce which will benefit the country for generations to come. 

Few industries share the power of hospitality and tourism to drive employment and, in particular, entry level opportunities leading to rewarding careers for skilled and initially unskilled people alike. Our industry’s growth enabled 36 million overseas visitors to holiday in the UK last year – a 10% increase over the past decade.

What is the attraction of tourism as a career? It is an industry on a roll, it is expanding fast, with plenty of opportunities at all levels. It needs talented young people, again, at all levels. In fact, the industry offers skilled people almost unlimited opportunities — in craft work, such as the kitchen or restaurant, front of house or backstage, as well as supervisory or management positions

A trained graduate can become the manager of a hotel, restaurant or leisure attraction in their early twenties. The manager of a top city centre hotel will earn a six-figure sum; top-line chefs are equally well paid. Talented chefs and customer service staff are in huge demand and all have the opportunity to work in the UK or abroad; hotel and catering skills are truly international.

Hospitality is a people industry, where working in the industry means working in a team and it is teamwork that gives customer satisfaction and that is the aim of every hotel or restaurant. Above all hospitality offers a career which can quickly reward hard-working people and offer a fantastic range of career opportunities across a range of businesses and locations.

Written by Vernon Hunte
Government Affairs Director
British Hospitality Association