Vacations are one of the best things in the world.
You visit new, exotic and beautiful places; you make lasting memories with family or friends; you interact with new people as you experience the food, music, art and language of different cultures, and best of all, you get a break from reality.
While you're experiencing bliss in your temporary home away from home, don't forget about the people working while you play. After all, your vacation experience depends on someone else's – rather, a lot of people's – job.
Think about it. There's someone accountable for the mode of transportation you chose to get to your vacation spot; someone responsible for marketing your choice of destination; someone in charge of the activities you experience – or designing the gear that you'll need as you get equipped for your adventure; someone taking care of your entertainment in the evening or showing you the sights. There are even people on point for managing the natural resources – the forests, farmlands, and waterways – so the next generation of visitors will be able to have the same opportunities to vacation that you did. And the list goes on.
Employment opportunities in travel and tourism, which fall into the leisure and hospitality industry, are abundant, diverse and rewarding. Nationally, tourism is one of the world's largest industries and provides 235 million jobs globally – about 1 in every 9 workers. In the United States alone, leisure and hospitality jobs are projected to total 15 million in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vermont has more than 2,000 businesses in this sector in Vermont providing nearly 34,000 jobs according to 2010 data from the Vermont Department of Labor, which is nearly 12 percent of the state's total workforce.
Leisure and hospitality breaks down into three sectors: arts and culture, entertainment and recreation; hotel, resorts and other accommodations; and restaurants, food services and nightlife establishments. In Vermont, there are thousands of jobs in hospitality and tourism, ranging from ski resort managers and hotel executives, to outdoor guides, event planners, and park rangers.
It's an exciting time for the Vermont tourism industry as the strength of recognition, emotional connection and appeal of the Vermont brand reaches around the world. As more visitors seek out and take advantage of our outdoor recreational areas, locally grown foods and brews, and environmental quality and 'green' values, the need for an innovative, creatively minded and resourceful workforce to engage in the hospitality, tourism and recreation management sector is growing. Large and small college across the Green Mountain State feature an excellent array of choices in two- or four-year degree programs that ready students for a host of career options, from hospitality to restaurant management to sustainability to agricultural tourism.
Often, careers in the travel and tourism industry are incorrectly characterized as low-paying. While there are entry-level, seasonal positions, the industry also provides professional opportunities for individuals with the right skills and educations, coupled with an enjoyable atmosphere, flexible hours and opportunities to meet new people.
Most jobs in the industry keep workers on their toes and no day is like the last. Here are five great jobs to explore in travel and tourism:
1. Attraction, Activity or Recreation Ambassador
Getting the Job: Responsibilities will vary, depending on where you're employed but tasks might include hosting visitors at attractions, setting up outdoor activities for children, providing caddy services for golfers, or leading a guided nature walk. You maybe called upon to provide training and instruction for beginners, whether learning to alpine ski or snowboard in winter, or kayak, horseback ride or zipline in summer.
Payoff: $21,430 to $33,630/year + quick access to fun!
Getting the Job: Remember Tim Curry in the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York? His character is a perfect example of a hotel concierge who helps deal with an request of problem a guest may have, no matter how strange or impossible it may seem. The concierge also assists guests with such tasks as making restaurant reservations, arranging spa services, recommending places to go and organizing travel arrangements and various activities.
Payoff: $23,420 to $32,070/year (salaries will vary based on establishment and gratuities) + first tracks on corduroy!
3. Executive Chef/Head Cook
Getting the Job: Everything that goes out of the kitchen is the responsibility of the executive chef/head cook. From quality culinary fare served on schedule from a menu that reflects the theme of the establishment to productivity of the kitchen staff, the executive chef/head cook is the master of ceremonies for the dining experience.
Payoff: $32,010 to $53,130/year + Vermont artisan brew and cheddar cheese whenever you want it!
4. Operations Manager
Getting the Job: The ideal education for a hotel or resort operations manager may be a general liberal arts degree. However many Vermont colleges and universities actually have programs dedicated to the breadth of knowledge required for this position. From human resources to housekeeping, security to sales, public relations to financial management, the operations manager's job is to deal effectively with customers, bosses and staff workers while keeping the hotel or resort running smoothly.
Payoff: $56,340 to $121,580/year + greens and spas galore!
Getting the Job: Manage activities in operating such institutions as museums, historic sites, art galleries, or craft centers. Acquire items for exhibition, authorize sale or loan of items and authenticate items that come into the institutions.
Payoff: $50,040 to $70,100/year + unique concerts and world-class art!
We love the Green Mountains. And lots of people love our schools. All told, 40,000 students from 90 countries are inspired by Vermont's educational and career opportunities. Ready to get started in the field of tourism and hospitality? Vermont has more colleges per capita than any other state. Check out Vermont colleges offering two-and four-year degrees (www.vtcolleges.org).
Ready, Set, Enroll!
Vacations are one of the best things in the world.