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Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism

Looking for a career with lots of travel, or to create a memorable experience for someone? A job in hospitality, leisure & tourism might be the destination for you.

What is hospitiality, leisure and tourism?

Hospitality, leisure and tourism jobs cover all kinds of experiences, from travel and dining out to visiting museums or even running a theme park. It’s all about making sure people have a good time, whether they’re heading abroad or staying at home. At the heart of these sectors are the wonderful, friendly folk who make sure we get the best out of our time off.

What hospitiality, leisure and tourism jobs can I do?

Hospitality and tourism are booming industries in the UK and there are a huge range of jobs out there:

  • Admin roles: In each area there are lots of roles for managers and administrators plus chances for promotion. Check out our Administrative & Clerical Career Zone to learn more.
  • Airline staff: Airlines employ flight attendants to ensure that passengers have a relaxing and safe journey. You’ll get to travel all over the world and to manage or train your own flight crews. To find out about becoming a pilot, check out this guide.
  • Chefs and caterers: These guys are needed everywhere, from hotels and restaurants to sports events and weddings, so there are plenty of opportunities to move around, run a kitchen, train other chefs or specialise. Check out this 60 second interview with a chef to learn more.
  • Curators: Museum curators and librarians make sure that collections, like books, art and artefacts, are looked after, organised and made exciting for the people who come to see them.
  • Hotel jobs: Hotels employ lots of different staff from doormen to housekeepers and receptionists. There are opportunities to work your way up to management and, if you work for a big hotel chain, there are chances for travel too. 
  • Instructors: If you’re a future tennis pro or an expert mountaineer, you could become a sports/activities instructor, organising activities or coaching for holidaymakers abroad or through local clubs in your neighbourhood. Take a look at our Sport & Fitness Career Zone.
  • Tour guides and operators: Use their know-how to show people round the sites of a city or even a whole country. Tour guides can be experts in history or foreign languages.
  • Waiter: As a waiter in restaurants and bars, you have the chance to work your way up to run the restaurant as maître d'. Bars can also employ specialist staff like mixologists to create cocktails.

Is a career in hospitality, leisure and tourism for me?

These industries are all about great customer service so, if you’re a good communicator and enjoy working with a whole range of people, this could be the career for you.

You’ll need to be patient and think on your feet when problems come up.

Attention to detail and creativity are also handy when it comes to planning events and activities.

There are also plenty of opportunities for travel in your career if you work for an airline, tour operator or hotel chain.

How can I start a career in hospitiality, leisure and tourism?


For bar, waiting and hotel staff training is often given on the job. Intermediate and advanced apprenticeships are available in roles such as barista and hospitality supervisor as well as in kitchen-based roles from head chef to baker.

Flight attendants get on-the-job training too. Most airlines will ask for at least 4 GCSEs at grades 9-4 including English and maths. Foreign languages are a real bonus too.


Vocational training is another great way in, and is more classroom-based than an apprenticeship. You could opt for an NVQ in travel and tourism services, which will give you grounding in customer service. If catering is your thing, you can study at a culinary college or institute after GCSEs. There are intermediate apprenticeships available for activity leaders and fitness instructors and well as travel reps and advisors.


There are also lots of management training schemes open for graduates with any degree.

Museum curators usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in subjects like museum studies, education, history or science subjects depending on the type of museum they want to work at.

How to boost your chances

Nothing beats getting some early work experience too. Restaurants, shops and hotels are some of the top sources of part-time work for school students. You could also try volunteering at your local museum or a kids' summer school.

What hospitiality, leisure and tourism qualifications are available?

There are lots of opportunities for management training for people on the job.

There are also chances to gain NVQ qualifications and diplomas in food and beverage service, hospitality and catering, and hotel management, to name a few.

As we talked about in the How can I start a career? section above, degrees are also available in more academic areas such as librarianship and curatorship.

Did you know these hospitiality, leisure and tourism facts?

  • Five out of the top 10 largest hotels in the world are in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • The Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel, under construction off Key West in Florida, will be submerged 28 feet underwater and guests will look out over spectacular coral reefs from their rooms.
  • The UK has boasted the roller coasters with the most inversions in the world for over two decades! Colossus at Thorpe Park held the record from 2002 to 2013, with 10 inversions. The title was taken by The Smiler, which opened at Alton Towers with 14 inversions and has worn the crown ever since. 

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