With the lifting of restrictions, many can’t wait to travel again. Destinations welcomed almost three times the number of international arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Are airlines, airports, hotels, restaurants, and other service providers ready for this rebound? Recent events would suggest otherwise. Many are in dire need of quality professionals who can bring resilience and promote sustainability.
The tourism and hospitality industries need updated skills and technical know-how to manage their organisations in the “new normal.” While there are thousands of tourism or hospitality programmes, University of Wolverhampton Business School’s MA International Tourism and Hospitality Management programme stands out due to its unique way of joining two broad subject areas. It is one of only three higher education institutions within the 30-mile radius of the Midlands region that offer hospitality and tourism together.
Taught by experienced practitioners, the programme equips students with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. The modules revolve around four core pillars, namely digital business, sustainable business, innovative business and responsible business. Students will get to study business using these overarching themes so that they understand how to navigate all sorts of organisations upon completion of the programme.
One of the problems faced by the tourism sector today, for example, is sustainability. In light of this, UoW Business School prepared the Tourism Planning and Development module to address this. It provides students with the opportunity to dive deep into the sustainable development of tourism. Focus is on the underpinning theories, practical techniques, and current issues of the sector so that students will be able to develop tourism resources without jeopardising the quality and availability of natural resources. Besides providing a thorough understanding of the implications of tourism development, students who complete this module will be able to examine the techniques and methods employed by tourism planners and developers.
Climate change and the pandemic have exposed the need for changes to the two sectors – which means that graduates must be agile, reflexive, and in possession of critical thinking skills to be able to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. To achieve this, the master’s programme implements a range of valuable activities such as off-site learning, field trips, high profile events, excursions, workshops, and research projects.
This is something that the BA (Hons) Tourism Management provides as well. UoW Business School has strong links within the industry, namely The National Trust’s Attingham Park Estate, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and Black Country Living Museum. Because of this, students of the undergraduate degree will be able to gain experience whilst studying from completing a placement year or a summer internship. There are opportunities to work in tour operations, destination marketing and management, as well as resort management.
Students will be able to access a range of opportunities to apply what they learn to what is happening in the industry right now too, thanks to the school’s links to ABTA and The Institute for Travel and Tourism (ITT). One of these exciting experiences, the ITT Future You Conference, will even take place at their city centre-based campus.
In their final year of study, students can undertake a practical professional project instead of a traditional dissertation, on anything that is deemed suitable to the course of study and will be agreed with their supervisor. What better way to shine at future job interviews than to show a business artifact that encapsulates their knowledge, skills and experience?
It is not just important to have a career by the end of the programme, but to be able to choose from a wide range of options. This is also why many students choose to study at UoW Business School. Those who do not go on to contribute to the tourism, hospitality, and event sectors may opt for lecturing instead. Some of the programme’s graduates have even gone on to obtain a PhD qualification. Due to the University of Wolverhampton’s affiliations with the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT), Association of British Travel Agents and Association for Tourism in Higher Education, students find it easier to network and land jobs once they conclude their studies.
“I gained further practice insights through exposure to relevant industry-focused conferences such as the ITT Future You and the Visit Britain event which featured a brilliant range of industry experts who provided career tips, guidance and an opportunity to build my professional network,” says student Tiffany Omoike. “Another highlight was the field trip to Attingham Park which exposed me to one of the biggest nature reserves in the UK, also providing career opportunities in that sector.” You can read more about Tiffany’s time at the Business School here.
Other than its emphasis on industry exposure, the two programmes are successful in producing competitive graduates because of the department itself. It is recognised as “a centre of excellence” by ITT. The range of courses provided in the bachelor’s degree, for example, focus on important contemporary topics such as destination marketing and management as well as resilience and sustainability in tourism.
According to student Bansri Savjiani from Malawi, UoW Business School lecturers motivated them through a shared passion for the hospitality industry. “The master’s degree was exactly the programme I needed to help me cultivate that passion,” shares Savjiani. “The resources, network, and tools we have as students are completely unparalleled.”
Another student Sarah Sambay agrees with this sentiment: “As a student of the master’s programme, I have acquired extensive vital knowledge and skills through interactive teachings, field excursions, and insightful seminars from renowned guest speakers in the tourism industry. This experience has opened my mind with entrepreneurial ideas which I hope will help me accomplish my goals and aspirations of having my own business.”
Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the tourism and hospitality scene, there is a place for you at UoW Business School. Learn more about the BA Tourism Management here, or the MA International Tourism and Hospitality Management programme here.