sealPurdue News

June 2001

Career choices abound in hospitality
and tourism management

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – If current trends continue, professionals in the field of hospitality and tourism will find their career choices nearly limitless.

The industry is the fastest growing and changing retail field in the United States, experiencing growth of about 23 percent annually. Airlines, restaurants, schools, health care, catering, theme parks, resorts, country clubs and an array of other businesses have an ongoing demand for managers and service workers in this field.

In keeping with these changes, Purdue University changed the name of its Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional and Tourism Management to the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

"We changed the name to better reflect the change and growth in the industry," says Ray Kavanaugh, head of the department. "The old name represents three components, but there is so much more than that in the industry. For example, we're considering adding a professional golf management program to our department. The new name is more inclusive of all the areas in which our graduates can work."

The program includes about 550 undergraduates and 50 graduate students working toward degrees in the science of hotel and tourism management.

"This field is the third-largest retail industry in the United States, right behind automobiles and food stores, and is one of the top three employers in 29 states," Kavanaugh says. "The strongest growth is in the golf industry, fine dining, and economy and upscale lodging."

According to figures from the National Restaurant Association, Americans spent $519 billion on restaurants and tourism in 1999, up about $90 billion from the previous year.

To fulfill the steadily increasing demand for professionals, Purdue offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in this field, as well a doctoral degrees in consumer science and retailing and in hospitality and tourism management. Purdue hospitality and tourism management graduates have a 90 percent job placement, and can expect to earn between $25,000 and $40,000 their first year. "There's so much a person can do with a degree in this field," says Beth Wood, career coordinator for hospitality and tourism. "You could open your own business, work for a cruise line, join a large company, or work for an international company." CONTACTS: Kavanaugh, (765) 494-4643,; Wood, (765) 494-4729,

Compiled by Sharon A. Bowker, (765) 494-9723;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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