Hospitality, Travel & Tourism

The hospitality industry is a broad group of businesses providing various services to customers. These can be broken down into four core areas:

  1. Accommodation
  2. Food and Beverage
  3. Travel and Tourism
  4. Events and exhibitions

Hospitality overall is focused on driving customer satisfaction, with the hope of gaining repeat customers or good reviews.

Essentially, the industry focuses on ‘experience’ based customer service. This means its core aim is to ensure all customers have an exceptional experience, whether it’s through their hotel room and services, their restaurant experiences, or tourism experiences.

All sectors cater to both domestic and international markets and are significant in driving economic growth in Australia. Hospitality, travel and tourism has been identified as one of Australia’s ‘high-growth’ sectors over the next two decades. As the sector covers everything from cleaning to receptionist work, waiters to chefs, engineers to expert tour guides – the vast array of roles available is always on the up! Demands in the sector around things like AirBnB are also opening up new career pathways, such as holiday property portfolio managers, marketing and Public Relations.

If you enjoy meeting new people and trying new things, you’ll be amazed at the career choices available to you in this fast-paced and exciting sector. And while it’s a vital sector in Australia, it’s also incredibly important in other countries too.

Countries want to be known as tourism destinations and have a reputation for providing an exceptional experience for guests. Staff are crucial for achieving this, so your skills in hospitality or tourism could see you finding work anywhere in the world!

Entry into the sector is as varied as the roles available, so no matter what academic pathway you choose to pursue, there’ll be an opportunity to start with a retail and customer service career.

What You Could Do

Job roles in the industry are varied, and there are also many opportunities to grow a career through entry-level positions.

Five broad areas within the sector make up the majority of roles and pathways you could pursue. These are:

Tourism Management: Tourism is the short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places they usually live and work. Tourism management focuses on providing positive and successful experiences for such travellers and the businesses that cater to them.

  • Job roles you could pursue: Tourism Operator, Tour Guide, Customer Service Advisor, Marketing Assistant, Promotions Assistant, Visitor Information Assistant.

Hotel Management: Hotel Management involves various skills like management, marketing, human resource development, financial management, and interpersonal skills. Hotels are a major employer in the industry. Hotel Management ensures that all operations, including accommodation, food, drink, and other hotel services, run smoothly.

  • Job roles you could pursue: Receptionist, Concierge, Hotel Manager, Bookings Assistant, Cleaner, Cleaning Manager, Housekeeping, Guest Services Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Facilities Assistant.

Event Management: Event managers or planners execute all details related to various meeting formats, including seminars, conferences, trade shows, executive retreats, incentive programs, golf events, and other programs.

  • Job roles you could pursue: Event Assistant, Event Manager, Promotions Assistant, Marketing Assistant, Booking Manager, Facilities Assistant, Talent Manager, Location Scout.

Restaurant Management: This covers the smooth running of any establishment that serves food and beverages. From small cafes to fine dining, there’s a lot to take into consideration. From stock checks and ordering, food preparation, customer service and waitressing, and cleaning and facilities management. Restaurant management is fast-paced and also needs to follow strict health and hygiene guidelines set by local governments. Some places will also need to secure appropriate licenses for the serving of alcohol.

  • Job roles you could pursue: Restaurant Manager, Waiter/Waitress, Maitre’D, Chef, Sous Chef, Kitchen Assistant, Cleaner, Barista, Pastry Chef, Bookings Manager.

Resort Management: Resort management includes hospitality administration, hotel/motel management, restaurant, and food services management, facilities planning, leisure studies, recreation administration, marketing, and grounds operations and maintenance.

These job roles are only just scratching the surface!

Each industry segment will also include administrative and other support functions, including marketing, communications, human resources, and accounting.

Graduate Employment and Gender Split

A degree isn’t essential for every career pathway in the industry. However, for some senior roles, such as hotel management or resort management, a degree can equip you with the in-depth knowledge to set you up for success in your role. Coupled with the right experience, a degree is a strong pathway into your chosen sector.

Knowing what graduate employment looks like can help set your expectations and make further decisions.

The Graduates Outcome Survey tracks graduate employment across different industry sectors. Here’s a look at some degrees that could be a great starting point for this industry:

  • Tourism, Hospitality, & Personal Services Graduates in full-time employment: 52.4%
  • Tourism, Hospitality, & Personal ServicesGraduates in employment overall: 82.4%

Keep in mind that this doesn’t account for graduates working part-time and/or who may have continued to higher studies; these are promising percentages!

*Figures from 2020 survey results.

Gender Split

The gender split across the industry depends on the segment of the sector you work within, but it’s relatively evenly split across most roles in the industry:

  • Males: 59%
  • Females: 41%

In some more specialist areas, such as Chef work, there is a higher percentage of males:

  • Males: 80%
  • Females: 20%

In management, there is also a slightly higher percentage of men:

  • Males: 60%
  • Females: 40%

Average Salary

Current surveys in the sector indicate the median salaries for full-time roles in this industry as:

  • Entry-level Hospitality Roles: $40-$59,100
  • Experienced Hospitality Roles: $58-$78,000
  • Hotel Manager: $78-$82,000
  • Restaurant Manager: $60-$72,000
  • Entry-level Tourism Roles: $53-$64,300
  • Resort Manager: $67-$92,000

Salaries can be pretty varied, with lower expectations for entry-level roles. Salaries are also determined by several factors, including:

  • The segment of the industry you work within.
  • Your job title and seniority.
  • The amount of experience you have.
  • Location, some rural areas may pay less than roles in main cities.

Industry Growth

According to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, 13% of Australian businesses are categorised as part of the tourism industry, with 95% percent being micro or small businesses. The tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors have been named Australia’s ‘Fantastic Five’ growth sectors over the next 20 years.

Hospitality organisations employ around (6.9% of the overall Australian workforce, making it Australia’s seventh-largest employment sector.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, employment growth in the sectors was expected to overtake other large employment sectors, such as transport, postal warehousing, and mining. It’s likely that disruption to the industry will be short-term and that there will be a demand for all roles as people begin to return to travel and seek out hospitality experiences.

Current estimates are that an additional 62,000 workers will be needed over the next five years to fill posts across tourism, travel, and hospitality, including kitchen hands, chefs, tourism and travel advisors, conference and event organisers, and hotel managers.

Qualifications and Entry Pathways

Entry pathways are varied and will depend heavily on the type of role you want to get into.

Vocational education and training (VET) courses can offer specialised and valuable springboards into hospitality and tourism careers.

Some of the courses on offer include:

You can also pursue many roles in the sector through:

  • Scoring an apprenticeship or traineeship: You can start a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship from Yr 9 and work to gain industry-specific qualifications alongside your certificate of education and work experience.
  • Work experience once you leave school: If you leave school at 16, you can apply for work experience and school-leaver programs in entry-level positions and work your way up over time. Many of these organisations will also support you to gain further professional qualifications. You’ll need a strong skill set and good grades in Maths and English as a minimum.

Requirements will depend on the type of role you want and the company – so make sure you do some research.

Whatever your circumstances, grades, or preferred way forward – there’s a qualification pathway that will work for you.

Best Places to Study

Where you choose to study will be dependent on a range of factors, but some universities are rated higher than others for specific subjects.


Here are the top-rated Australian universities for Hospitality and Tourism:

  • Griffith University
  • University of Queensland
  • International College of Management
  • Victoria University
  • La Trobe University
  • Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School
  • Bond University


Where to Learn More

You can find out more about different career pathways through professional bodies and organisations advocating for careers in the sector.

Some good places to start include:

And many more!

Each state will also have several professional organisations that can help you learn more about the industry, network, and develop your career.