Did you know that Europe is the largest tourism destination in the world with a market share of around 50%, representing some 475 million international arrivals?
It should come as no surprise then that the hospitality industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors in Europe in terms of employment. The number of persons employed rose by 1.9 million from 7.4 to 9.3 million between 2003 and 2008. Even in crisis times, between 2008 and 2010, the sector provided around 200,000 new jobs.
The industry now currently employs some 9.5 million workers, spread out across 1.7 million enterprises. Hotels and restaurants are major employers of young people: about half of the work force is below 35 years of age. And there are more women than men working in the sector (55 and 45% respectively).
Now we’ve got all the interesting stats out of the way, it’s time to ask if a career in tourism and hospitality is for you? If we look at the traits that are valued by employers in the tourism and hospitality sector when recruiting, then a few attributes immediately stand out. These are: being friendly, outgoing and people-oriented; energetic and enthusiastic; having a willingness to work long hours; a good customer service attitude; and a love for travel and new experiences.
One quick and easy way of testing whether you align with these traits is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you enjoy working with people?
- Are you comfortable talking in front of groups of people?
- Do you work well as part of a team?
- Would you be interested in living in a foreign country?
- Can you juggle several tasks all at the same time?
- Do you consider yourself a "high-energy" person?
- Are you able to work long hours, weekends, or evenings?
- Can you handle intense deadline pressure?
- Do you value diversity?
- Can you put the needs of the customer before your own needs?
If you answered "yes" to five or more of the above questions, then a career in tourism and hospitality could be for you.
Your next step would be to consider what area of the industry you would most like to work in. The hospitality industry encompasses a wide variety of different types of businesses and companies that fall into three main areas with many subcategories. Take a look and see if any particular area jumps out at you.
Food and Beverage, Entertainment and Recreation
- Fast food eateries
- Theme parks
- Camp sites
- Serviced apartments
- Public houses
Travel and Tourism Support
- Travel agents
- Airline cabin staff
- Cruise line cabin staff
- Travel technology staff including IT workers
- Event planners
- Tour guides
Sounds like the career for you? Find out about youth opportunities in the Tourism and Hospitality sector on Drop’pin.