Differences between Tourism and Hospitality

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The terms ‘Tourism’ and ‘Hospitality’ are often used together side by side and they sound like the same thing. Formal university degrees are offered on both together e.g. BA (Hon’s) in Tourism and Hospitality Management. However, they are not the same thing. Although, they are considered to be under the same roof, some differences exist between the two.

Definition of tourism

Tourism refers to the sum of the relationships arising out of the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes (Wall and Mathieson, 2005, cited in McCabe, 2009). Tourist destinations, transportation and tickets for travelling, and tourism activities such as mountain climbing, trekking, rock climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, jungle safari, sights seeing are some of the areas of tourism industry.

Definition of hospitality

Hospitality is about dealing with accommodation, food, and beverage for people away from home. It in the historical sense, concerns a duty of charitableness, offering protection (shelter) and succour (food and drink) to strangers (Lashley, 2000, cited in McCabe, 2009).

Differences between tourism and hospitality

First of all, let us look at the difference from an employment point of view. Hotel clerks, restaurant managers, bar managers, waiters, waitresses and so on are some of the job titles held by people working in the hospitality industry. On the other hand, tourist guide, destination PR consultant, travel consultant, tour operations assistant and so on are some of the job titles held by people working in the tourism industry.

Students with a tourism qualification should be able to find employment in national parks, museums, libraries, travel agencies, tour companies and so on. On the other hand, students with a hospitality qualification typically work in hotels, motels and resorts.

It should be noted that both tourism and hospitality complement each other. For example, a tourist needs tickets for traveling (tourism) and a place like hotel to stay in and perhaps a restaurant to eat in (hospitality).

The article publication date: 10 March 2017

Further reading/references

McCabe, S. (2009) Marketing Communications in Tourism and Hospitality: Concepts, Strategies and Cases, 1st edition, Butterworth-Heinemann

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Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He is a graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University and London South Bank University.