Many tourism destinations across the globe are known for their natural wonders—beachfront properties, jungle foliage, mountain peaks, and the list goes on. The impact of tourism on these natural areas can have a devastating effect, which creates the demand for tourism professionals who also understand sustainable economic development. In order to protect these natural wonders for future generations, today’s tourism industry leaders must use sustainable practices.
A master’s degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development provides insight into how to strike this balance between sustainability and global tourism development. Professionals who graduate with this degree are able to evaluate tourism development in light of the environmental protections that need to remain in place. They also learn the skills necessary to communicate with tourism industry leaders and policymakers to help support initiatives that protect the natural wonders that fuel the sustainable tourism industry.
The sustainable tourism industry continues to grow, adding to the demand for people trained in this field. Approximately 105.3 million sustainable travelers take to the road, sky, or sea each year looking for ways to travel while supporting sustainable efforts, according to US News & World Report. (The United Nations even recognized 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.) That growth has continued in recent years as more and more people discovered the joy of traveling with a focus on sustainability.
What Can You Do With a Degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development?
If you feel that a Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development degree is the right fit for your interests, you may wonder what career paths are open with this degree. The unique blend of tourism, sustainability, and economics built into this graduate degree can help you explore a number of interesting tourism careers. While most of these careers focus on travel and environmentalism, each has different goals and careers that are worth considering.
1. Chief Sustainability Officers
A Chief Sustainability Officer is a C-suite executive who focuses on strategies to address energy use and conservation within an organization. While this is not a tourism-specific career, the broad training of the Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development degree can be a great benefit to professionals in this field. They will focus much of their efforts on helping organizations make choices that improve their sustainability and eco-friendliness, which is a growing concern for modern business.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break down career paths for Chief Sustainability Officers, but it does have a broader category for Chief Executives. In 2019, the average salary for this role was $184,460.
2. Hotel or Resort Manager
On the tourism side of the Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development degree, some graduates may choose to work as hotel or resort managers. These professionals take care of the day-to-day management of these facilities. With the sustainability focus of this degree, many of these professionals find employment in eco-conscious tourism destinations. They’ll focus much of their efforts on helping the resort or hotel be more environmentally friendly.
According to the BLS, lodging managers make an average of $54,430 a year. However, those that have higher-level degrees will be among the top income earners in the field. The highest 10% of income earners earn over $105,720 a year in this industry.
3. Sustainability Specialists
Sustainability specialists work to create and monitor sustainability initiatives and projects within organizations. Those with a Global Tourism degree can work on these projects within the tourism industry, but day-to-day duties will likely include tracking energy use, monitoring consumption of natural resources and generation of waste, and ensuring recycling programs are happening as they should.
Approximately 40% of Sustainability Specialists hold a master’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a specific category for Sustainability Specialists. However, the average wage in 2019 for Project Management and Business Operations Specialists was $73,570.
4. Sustainable Tour Guide
Sustainable tourism is a growing global trend. With a degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development, you can pursue a job as a tour guide within the sustainable tourism industry. Though tour guides in general are not among the highest paid tourism professionals, those who work in a specialty niche, like sustainable tourism, are able to achieve a higher pay rate.
The BLS does not provide an estimated income for tour guides. However, Indeed.com estimates an average of $18.32 per hour for this career field. In addition, tour guides make quite a bit on tips, averaging around $75 per day, which is an additional perk of this career path. Because of the high demand for sustainable tourism, the pay rate for this type of tour guide with a specific knowledge of international sustainability has the potential to be higher.
5. Park Ranger
A park ranger works in natural areas to protect wildlife and natural resources. These can be in national parks, state parks, and similar international natural areas. Park rangers often work directly for the government, but they can also be hired by privately owned operations and social advocacy groups. The main goal for these professionals is to protect the quality of natural lands and forested areas.
The BLS estimates the average salary for conservation professionals and foresters to be $62,410 a year. With a 5% increase expected between 2019 and 2029, this job is also seeing steady growth,
6. Environmental Restoration Planner
Environmental restoration planners work to improve environmental conditions in areas around the globe and to pursue initiatives that restore the environment to a better condition. This might include working with landowners on better ways to maintain their properties. These professionals are often in the environment taking an up-close look at the condition of the natural areas to determine what needs to be changed. The sustainable economic development portion of this degree path gives the environmental restoration planner the ability to plan for development that will both support the environmental and economic needs of the community.
The BLS estimates the average salary for environmental specialists of all types, including environmental restoration planners, to be $71,360 a year. Those who work for the federal government earn over $102,000 a year. This career path is expected to see an 8% growth from 2019 to 2029.
7. Ecotourism Development Specialist
Ecotourism development specialists help communities develop their tourism industries with a focus on eco-friendly features. These professionals may also run eco-tourism destinations. They will be responsible for allocating budgets, improving the capacity of local communities to handle the tourists who do come, and promote sustainable practices within the local community. They help develop tourism in such a way that it does not have a negative effect on the local environment and its resources.
This particular job does not have estimated salaries posted, as it will be highly specific to the location. It is a good fit, however, for those who love to travel and want to build up the sustainability of exotic destinations around the globe.
Prepare for a Career in Eco-Tourism Today
If tourism careers focused on sustainability are appealing to you, then a tourism degree from Johnson & Wales University may be a good fit. The master’s degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development offers the skills needed to help communities build and develop sustainable tourism industries.
If you’re interested in a career in global tourism, earn your master’s degree in global tourism and sustainable economic development from JWU, offered through our Providence, RI campus. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].
Johnson & Wales University’s College of Professional Studies offers 100% online degree programs and provides support to the University’s Providence graduate programs.