To the Next Generation of Travel Leaders

July 25, 2023

During my sophomore year of college at Texas A&M University, I took a seminar class offered by the school’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences. After just a few lectures on topics ranging from working on a cruise ship to the study of counterculture at the Texas Renaissance Festival, I was hooked and ready to declare my major. After convincing my parents that this was an actual field of study, I was on my way to the career I cherish today.

All of this came full circle for me at the 2022 Texas Travel Summit hosted by the Texas Travel Alliance, an industry conference I attended as a scholarship recipient in 2006. At the event, I had the chance to reconnect with Dr. Jim Petrick, the professor who set me on a path to the travel industry, and to meet a group of bright and passionate college students eager to get their own careers started.

As an industry striving to achieve greater diversity, harness technology and accomplish staying power through sustainability, here are a few university programs molding the minds of our industry’s next generation of leaders:

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Located in Edinburg, Texas, UTRGV offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management with 600 hours of hospitality and tourism-related internships required to graduate. Many of the students receive a dual language certificate demonstrating their fluency in Spanish upon graduation.
  • Texas A&M University: A shoutout to my alma mater which has now expanded its undergraduate degree program to include certificates for specialization in event management, hospitality management and tourism management.
  • North Carolina Central University: With one of the top-rated online programs for hospitality and tourism management, North Carolina Central boasts a 100% employment rate upon graduation.
  • New York University: Consistently named one of the top schools in the nation for the study of hotel and tourism management, NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality is recognized for its global perspective and expert faculty.
  • Clemson University: Clemson’s unique EDGE program teaches students project management skills key to the tourism industry, while its study abroad program offers opportunities for students to study in destinations such as Australia and Tanzania.

Want to get more involved in shaping the future of the tourism industry? Consider volunteering your time to one of these university programs, sharing internship and entry-level job opportunities with professors, or participating in an upcoming career day or recruiting event. There are students out there who will value and appreciate your time more than you realize.