Careers in Hospitality and Tourism

by Egi Gaisie
The scope of the hospitality and tourism industry

Choosing a career path is more than simply deciding what you will do to make a living. From the previous article we identified critical factors which summarize what you have/who you are. You may have realized by now that making a career choice impacts almost every area of your life including your personal & professional goals, expertise and specialization.

The right career choice will help instill you with purpose. Your passion for your work can have a significant effect on your life. It will shape your identity, personal fulfilment, lifestyle, income, family and retirement. Don’t let the opinions or expectations of others sway your decision making. Ultimately, deciding on a career is solely down to you.

Moving away from the challenges our young adults are facing, the need for a true knowledge of themselves (self-awareness), we will now be turning our attention to this glamorous and often misunderstood industry, hospitality and tourism. But first, what are your perceptions about the hospitality and tourism industry? Below is an illustration depicting six blind men whose description of an elephant was limited to the part of the elephant they touched.

It’s a rope! It’s a wall! It’s a tree! It’s a fan! It’s a spear! It’s a snake! You don’t want to be among the many who enter the industry with distorted ideas about it.

The hospitality and tourism industry is complex. It involves different fields of activities but they complement each other. A good knowledge and an understanding of the scope of the industry will enable you make the best decision on the myriad choices of career opportunities the industry offers.

See illustration below.


Tourism involves the movement of people. It cannot occur without travel.  However, note that travel may occur without being engaged in tourism activities. You may travel strictly for education, health, religious or business purposes. So it is not all travel which is tourism.

However, once travel is initiated towards tourism, be certain to see the components/ major clusters of activities (a series of interrelated businesses) of the tourism industry at play to meet the needs of the tourist-traveler.

These businesses involve:

Places to go (attractions and entertainment e.g. heritage sites and theme and wildlife parks). If you are going to be considering careers in this area, be sure some of the basic knowledge requirements would be knowing about Ghana, its numerous tourist sites, diverse cultures, and rich history. What sites do you immediately recognize in the images below?

Sources: A and B

Means to get around (different forms of transportation e.g. airlines, car rentals, and cruise ships).

Just like in any other country, there are different ways to travel; road, rail, air and water. However, travel by road and air are prevalent among tourists. Visit this link for examples of careers in tourism transportation.

Agencies to help (different agencies which facilitate any of the services e.g. travel facilitation and information such as tour operators, travel agents and tourist information centers).

Places to eat (restaurants and similar facilities).

Places to spend money (shops, markets and similar places).

Places to spend the night (hotels and other lodging facilities playing a similar role). The term ‘hospitality industry’ is relatively new in Ghana, probably in the late 1980’s. Conventionally the hospitality industry comprises oflodging/ hotel and food and beverage operations as portrayed in the diagram below and the tourism industry comprises of travel, lodging, food service and recreation/attractions.  Events, however, are becoming a significant part of the hospitality industry in Ghana.

Quick Quiz: Which of the following diagrams best explains the relationship between hospitality and tourism industry?

Watch out for ‘tough truths and myths about the industry’.

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