Hospitality, leisure, and tourism

Use these subjects to travel the world or stay closer to home, and help people make the most of their free time.

From managing your local sports centre or hotel, to planning around-the-world itineraries of cruise ships, there are a variety of careers for hospitality, leisure, and tourism graduates.

  • Hospitality is primarily about hotels, bars, and restaurants.
  • Leisure is often about events, sports centres, and multi-purpose venues.
  • Tourism is about domestic and international travel, including sightseeing and attractions.

All three will give you commercial and business skills, customer service experience, rapid thinking, working in high-pressure environments, and superb communication skills. You could end up working for a big travel company, a restaurant chain or a hotel group, or managing your own business. 

The impact you could make
  • Become a travel consultant and design clients’ dream holidays in the UK or abroad.
  • Work your way up to managing your own chain of restaurants or hotels.
  • Work with children or adults with additional needs and show them the joy and power of outdoor leisure activities.
What you could study
  • Transport economics and policy
  • The digital customer experience
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Exhibitions and events
  • Special interest tourism
  • Global planning and logistics
  • Bed and room management
  • Hospitality policies

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

Chat to a current hospitality, leisure, and tourism student

Chat to a current hospitality, leisure, and tourism student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:

  1. Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  2. Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  3. Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  4. Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  5. Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

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Example module
“Creating marketing campaigns for tourism events and destinations.”
First year International tourism management student, University of Chester
Example project
"I really enjoyed working with a team to consult with a business working in the tourism industry in our business strategy module. It taught me a lot of practical skills beyond the theory being taught."
International travel and tourism management graduate, Ulster University

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some hospitality, leisure, and tourism courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.

Travel and tourism
Hard skills you'll develop
  • Housekeeping
  • Working with children
  • Auditing
  • Operations management
  • Cost control
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Management
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Leadership

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying hospitality, leisure, and tourism. The following information is based on a typical hotel and accommodation manager role.

Available jobs
40,221 vacancies in the past year
6.44% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £52,218

Career options

Hospitality, leisure, and tourism

Travel agent

Hotel manager

Tour manager

Event planner or manager

Air cabin crew


What is an… outdoor activities manager ?

You may be able to guess, but an outdoor activities – or education – manager runs outdoor activity centres or venues where people can try out a range of activities like sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, horse riding, climbing, raft building… As well as sometimes working as an instructor, the manager also has responsibility for staff, the venue, and the health and safety of everyone who visits.

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study hospitality, leisure, and tourism at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from hospitality, leisure, and tourism applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.

  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

A day in the life of a Hospitality Apprenticeship

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around hospitality, leisure, and tourism with the following:

  1. UK Hospitality – Insights

    Delve further into what impact the hospitality sector has on the UK economy, with these insights from the industry’s trade body.

  2. Components of Tourism

    These YouTube videos by ‘tourism teacher’ Dr Hayley Stainton give an insight into how the tourism industry works, alongside other explainers on topics like sustainability, ecotourism, and dark tourism. 
  3. Fred’s Last Resort

    Join Fred Sirieux as he trains up a group of young Brits to run a luxury hotel.

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our advice will help you get ahead in your hospitality, leisure, and tourism journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • What sparked your interest in these subjects and where do you hope it will take you? Can you give examples of things you’ve seen or experienced that have furthered your interest?
  • Demonstrate you have the right personality and character to study hospitality, leisure, and tourism with good communication skills, an open mind, the ability to problem solve, multi-task, and manage. Give examples where you can.
  • Try and get real business experience on your CV through part-time work or volunteering at a local hotel, restaurant, leisure or activity centre.
  • Also mention project or team work you’ve done in school or during extracurricular activities and describe what skills you learned in those situations
  • Finally, show you can balance a varied workload, either through previous hospitality or tourism experience you’ve had, or through balancing your different subject studies alongside life outside of school.

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