Check-in to Check-out: The Role of Tourism and Hospitality Management

In this article, we will look at what exactly tourism and hospitality are, how this industry drives economic growth, and explore different career opportunities you can pursue.


The tourism and hospitality industry is massive in South Africa, with millions of tourists visiting our country yearly.

This makes tourism management an excellent career choice for students who love working with people from all over the world.

MANCOSA offers a Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management course that equips students with the skills and knowledge to attain management positions within the hospitality and tourism industry.

In this article, we will look at what exactly tourism and hospitality are, how this industry drives economic growth, and explore different career opportunities you can pursue.

What is tourism and hospitality?

Tourism refers to services provided to people who travel to destinations outside of their usual environments for business or leisure. This includes travel agencies, tour operator services, and more.

On the other hand, hospitality management is the administration and coordination of services provided within the hospitality industry. This includes hospitality management at hotels, resorts, restaurants, cruise ships, and more.

Both tourism and hospitality management professionals oversee business operations and strategic aspects within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries.

The primary goal of both is to ensure a positive and satisfying experience for guests and travellers while efficiently managing resources and maintaining profitability.

Tourism management professionals focus on destination development, marketing, and creating enjoyable travel experiences. They work towards sustainable tourism practices that respect local cultures and environments.

Hospitality management professionals focus on coordinating front-of-house and back-of-house operations, ensuring quality service, and optimising guest satisfaction.

Both fields require a keen understanding of customer preferences, cultural nuances, and industry trends. Tourism and hospitality management professionals often leverage technology to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences.

As dynamic and interconnected industries, tourism and hospitality are vital in stimulating economic growth, fostering cultural exchange, and shaping memorable moments for travellers worldwide.

The economic engine of the tourism industry

Tourism is pivotal in South Africa’s economy, contributing significantly to its GDP and job creation.

Renowned for its diverse landscapes, wildlife, and cultural heritage, South Africa attracts millions of international visitors annually. According to data from the South African Government, SA had over 4 million visitors in the first half of 2023.

It’s a key driver of economic growth, generating foreign exchange earnings and stimulating various related industries.

Types of tourism sectors

  • Adventure tourism: South Africa is incredibly popular because it has various outdoor activities, including hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, and more. The rugged landscapes of landmarks such as Table Mountain provide an excellent opportunity for adventurers to explore.
  • Wildlife tourism: South Africa is known for its abundant and diverse wildlife, making it a prime destination for tourists and wildlife lovers. Tourists can explore famous national parks, including the Kruger National Park, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, and the Addo Elephant National Park.
  • Wine tourism: South Africa is known for its wine regions, specifically in the Western Cape, such as Paarl and
    Stellenbosch. Wine tourism allows guests to explore vineyards, try various wines, and learn about winemaking.
  • Beach tourism: South Africa has stunning coastal regions along the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with unique sea life. Many coastal towns also provide the opportunity to engage in watersports, such as surfing. Popular destinations include Durban’s Golden Mile and Cape Town’s Clifton and Camps Bay beaches.
  • Cultural tourism: South Africa’s rich cultural heritage attracts many tourists interested in immersive cultural experiences. Travellers can explore world-known historical destinations such as Robben Island and the Apartheid Museum.

Job creation and local economic development in the tourism industry

The tourism industry offers many job opportunities across various sectors.

Hospitality jobs:

  • Hotel and resort staff
  • Restaurant and food service workers
  • Event management
  • Tour guides
  • Travel agents

Transportation jobs:

  • Pilots and flight crew
  • Bus and taxi drivers
  • Tour bus operators

Entertainment and recreation jobs:

  • Wildlife ranger and guides
  • Adventure activity instructors
  • Performers and cultural demonstrators

Retail and artisanal jobs:

  • Souvenir and gift shop owners
  • Artisans and craftsman

As for how tourism helps with local economic development:

  • Job creation: As seen above, tourism creates jobs for many South Africans and provides excellent opportunities for residents, including those in rural areas. This helps provide an income for these families, helping to reduce the unemployment rate.
  • Small business development: Tourism supports the growth of small businesses such as guesthouses, restaurants, and craft shops. As a result, these businesses help grow the economy by generating income from goods and services.
  • Infrastructure development: Investments in local infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and airports help local communities by improving amenities and transportation.
  • Cultural preservation: Tourism can also preserve cultural heritage by promoting awareness of specific traditions, historical buildings, and customs. Communities may engage in cultural tourism activities and generate income from it.

Service quality and customer experience

Effective hospitality management contributes to service excellence and good or bad customer experiences.

Good customer service should be carried out throughout the customer journey, from when a guest calls to inquire about rooms or services to where the customer checks out.

Not only can this lead to more customer satisfaction, but it can also give the company more referrals and profit.

This is why it’s essential to receive professional training in tourism studies, as it equips you with the skills and knowledge to provide excellent customer service. MANCOSA offers a Bachelor of Hospitality Management to help you learn these skills.

Top tips for improving customer service with hospitality management tactics

Ways to improve your customer service and hospitality skills:

  • Apply for internships: Participating in internships will help you gain first-hand experience and build these skills before you step into a full-time job.
  • Learn proper body language: Besides being an excellent verbal and written communicator, you must also learn appropriate body language to interact positively with guests. These include things like maintaining eye contact and smiling.
  • Provide a warm and friendly welcome: Great customer service all starts with greeting customers properly and making them feel welcome. Doing this will set the tone for their entire experience and simplify everything else.

Register for a Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management

You need proper communication, management, business law, and tourism training to excel at customer service and hospitality management.

We teach you all this and more in our Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism and Hospitality Management. We also offer a Higher Certificate in Tourism Management.

If you still need to decide about doing a hospitality and tourism degree

and want to learn more about how the tourism industry can set you up for a bright future, read this article.