Tourism development and management, B.S.

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According to both the World Tourism Organization (WTO), and the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) the travel and tourism industry is the largest industry and employer in the world. Upon completion of your degree you will possess a sound theoretical understanding of the comprehensive study of tourism. This will include knowledge related to the growth and development of tourism throughout the world in historical, spatial and economic terms; the economic, ecological, and socio-cultural impacts of tourism in both the developing and developed world; and the system of tourism production, product development, service delivery, and consumption by diverse domestic and international market segments. Other areas of study include the psychological foundations of travel motivations, visitor perceptions, and their experiences at destinations, as well as host-guest interactions. The program encompasses local, regional and global perspectives in the study of tourism.

Through the required internship component of the degree program, students will gain practical experiences for professional positions in various travel, tourism, and related fields. Exposure to the businesses of heritage tourism, sustainable tourism, resort management, and meeting and convention planning will prepare you for a successful career in the fast-growing travel and tourism industry.

Students may choose to pursue one of two concentrations offered within the tourism development and management degree: sustainable tourism or resort and accommodation leadership.

Resort and hotel leadership concentration 

The concentration in resort and accommodation leadership will attract students and professionals who have interests in the diverse areas of knowledge needed within the accommodations sector such as meeting the expectations of hotel and resort guests; the interrelated functions within departments of the lodging and food and beverage industries; ecological, social and economic sustainability practices in the industry; management and leadership specifically for the accommodations sector; and career opportunities. A concentration in resort and accommodations leadership will provide students an academic option to study in-depth the resort and accommodations system/sector and gain knowledge of the importance of the business relationships between suppliers, intermediaries/vendors, guests and the public and private sectors. The concentration will prepare students to serve our community by developing skills, knowledge, techniques and capabilities to address major issues related to resorts and other tourism accommodations.

There are a variety of job opportunities for resort or hotel professionals ranging from entry level as a management trainee to an assistant manager or manager in various departments such as a front desk manager, rooms division manager, sales/marketing manager, guest services manager, catering/banquet manager, and convention sales manager.

Sustainable tourism concentration 

The tourism development and management major provides students with the theoretical understanding necessary to maneuver the complexities of one of the world's largest industries. A concentration in sustainable tourism will allow majors to hone their understanding of the key concepts of sustainability and how they can be applied to tourism destinations and development. Students will learn the dominant theories and language that make up sustainability science and the skills necessary to measure, create and implement sustainability policies in tourism destinations from the planning to the management stage of development. Students will take courses offered by the School of Sustainability in addition to courses in the School of Community Resources and Development, guaranteeing that they have a strong foundation in the basic theories of the growing discipline of sustainability while applying these newfound skills to tourism development and management.

The area of sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly important. Many tourism businesses are hiring sustainability coordinators, including hotels, airlines, convention and visitor bureaus, and large attractions. Tour companies, such as those that implement ecotourism and volunteer tourism experiences, are especially interested in employees with a strong sustainable tourism background. Numerous sustainable tourism nonprofit organizations have emerged in recent years, and many government-related tourism organizations also hire those with a strong sustainability focus. As well, consulting opportunities are available to assist tourism businesses with development of sustainable practices.

TDM Bachelor of Science


Certificates and programs


The travel and tourism industry is the largest employer in the world and the second largest in Arizona.  The metropolitan Phoenix area is a major hub of tourism in the southwestern U.S. and has seen rapid growth in the air transportation sector, sports tourism, resorts and hotels, meetings and conventions, state and national parks, business and corporate travel, and the gaming and casino sectors.

Opportunities in the field

The academic programs in tourism development and management prepare students for professional positions in a variety of settings in Arizona, nationally, and abroad. Depending on your interest, work can be sought in the public, nonprofit, or private/commercial sectors. Our graduates find employment in such diverse settings as resorts, meeting planning, convention and visitor bureaus, tour operators and commercial recreation businesses. For more information on the state of the Tourism industry and the careers in the field please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which houses information on salaries and other statistics on the state of the industry.

Where our students work

Arizona is one of the largest tourism destinations in the world, and our students benefit from this by being able to make connections during their time within the program that assists with their entire career. However, our students also find successful careers that take them all over the world.  Some organizations that some of our alumni currently work are:

  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
  • Greater Phoenix CVB
  • Mesa Chamber of Commerce
  • Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
  • Pro Em – event management
  • Hyatt Regency Phoenix
  • CRS Temporary Housing
  • CMI Resources
  • Heidi’s Events and Catering
  • Royal Palms Resort & Spa
  • Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa
  • Think Tank Media and Marketing
  • The Phoenician