Tourism and Hospitality

Travel Industry Offers Great Career Opportunities, New Study Shows

According to a new study by the U.S. Travel Association, individuals who begin their careers with a job in the travel industry end up making more money and getting better educations than many of their peers.

The report, entitled Fast Forward: Travel Creates Opportunities and Launches Careers, challenges the view that travel industry jobs are low-pay or do not provide opportunities for career advancement. Among its key findings are the following:

  • The average maximum salary for employees who start their career in the travel industry is $81,900.
  • Two out of five workers who start their careers in the travel industry go on to earn more than $100,000 per year.
  • More than half of all travel industry employees earn a middle-class salary or higher.

The report also sheds light on the relationship between education and work in the travel industry. For example, it shows that:

  • One-third of American workers who started their careers in tourism and hospitality have a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • One-third of the 5.6 million Americans who support themselves while furthering their education work in leisure and hospitality.
  • Currently 1.8 million Americans are working part-time in the travel industry so they can pursue higher education.

Many students in USM's Program in Tourism & Hospitality are working in the travel industry while taking classes, bringing their professional experience into the classroom while learning new skills to advance their careers.

Impact the Future of Tourism in Maine

Tracy Michaud Stutzman, head of the Tourism and Hospitality department at USM, talks about the unique features of the BA degree program, which combines industry theory and real practical skills with a strong community engagement component.