The crisis has forced tough questions on the sector’s leaders. Questions about economic and environmental sustainability. Questions about the responsibilities of international hospitality businesses towards the locations and cultures tourists visit and enjoy.

But if international tourism will return in a changed form, the point is that it will return. This return will be slower and later than first imagined, which many are seeing as a blessing in disguise for hospitality’s visionary leaders. For example, since domestic tourism will be the first to rebound, management can begin by strengthening local cultural ties and embedding a sense of ‘responsible tourism’ in the way things are done.

Here’s a look at five reasons to study international hospitality management and become a part of that resurgence.

1. Growing industry

Travel and tourism was the second biggest growing sector in 2018, generating 10.4% of the world’s total economic activity. Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, forecast 100 million new jobs by 2029.

Nobody knows quite how the pandemic will affect these figures. But bust precedes boom, and the world’s locked-down travelers have itchy feet to get back on the road again. The growth in tourism has hit a rut, but it is likely to emerge and resume growth – albeit in a different pattern – as Covid-19 comes under control: 

“This summer, Italy’s tourism will be mainly local,” according to Marina Lalli, president of Italy’s national travel and tourism association. “We are not expecting international tourist arrivals to go back to 2019 levels until 2023.”

2. Many career opportunities

Hospitality is a diverse trade. Leadership roles within the industry are many and varied, depending on the type of region and venue you prefer, and the kind of involvement you seek. 

With an MSc in International Hospitality Management, you might manage hotels, transform the ‘customer service’ element of outdated hospitals, or open your own restaurant. You could work for a pub, an airline, or an exhibition center.

Hotel manager

3. Global outlook

The world really is your oyster as a hospitality management graduate. Would you like to work in your hometown, travel the world, or mix it up? Live near the beach or in a big city, or manage a countryside retreat without a tower block in sight? Choose a classic destination like Paris or New York, or develop opportunities in an emerging destination such as China?

4. Diversity

By definition, hospitality is about welcoming people. Depending on which part of the industry you work, you could greet a diverse through-trade of international travelers with a diverse set of stories to tell. Or you might get to meet a cross-section of your home town as custodian of a local bar, restaurant, or institutional venue.

Diversity isn't a benefit you can just walk into and enjoy: it is something you have to work towards as a hospitality leader. However, hospitality is the ideal setting to foster a broad and inclusive workforce and customer base.

5. Building networks

The best way to find your dream job in your dream destination is to know people everywhere. It helps to study international hospitality management among a network of students and alumni who have every base covered. A varied and robust network will help you find work opportunities and build new partnerships between professionals and between businesses. And it is the best way to become part of the conversation about what hospitality can be, post-coronavirus.

The perfect time and place to study

The hospitality industry may be quiet now, but that makes it the perfect window to pick up the skills you need to succeed and help the industry imagine what it could be in five, ten, twenty years - and then ride the wave of recovery.

The MSc in International Hospitality Management at emlyon business school and Institut Paul Bocuse provides an innovative approach to the challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality industry. The program acknowledges the increasing impact of digital tech on the sector, with developments such as online bookings, chatbots, virtual tours, and digital marketing, making the program future-proof against tomorrow's industry developments.

The MSc is truly international, as it takes place in Lyon and Paris in France before taking you to Shanghai, China. Applicants with any bachelor's degree are invited to join this English-taught program and benefit from the experience of two leading schools.

The 18-month program incorporates management and consultancy classes alongside ongoing practical assignments. For example, during the first semester, students design and develop a viable Concept Restaurant with classmates, culminating in the opening of a two-day pop-up restaurant!

“My best memory was the group assignment that we had in Shanghai,” recalls Camille Zebrit, a student from Chile. “We were with the company Grand Kempinski, and we are still talking to them at the moment. They are great in terms of contacts and helped us a lot to contribute to improve the guest relations. It was a great opportunity."

On campus, over 300 companies visit emlyon business school each year – with previous visits including Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel, AccorHotels Academy, Oetker Collection, Hilton Worldwide, and Hyatt International. The Talent Forum at Institut Paul Bocuse puts students in contact with professionals from these companies and more, for internships and job opportunities. Employers recognize that the program develops students with the skills they need.

And students are equipped not just with formal skills, but also with the capacity to imagine a brighter future for international hospitality management, and their professional role within this inspiring industry.

“Through the program, its different courses, visits and trips, I expect to understand clearly what “Hospitality Management” means,” says student Cindy Ramelison. “Where and how we can bring the best of ourselves to improve this industry and bring innovation and emotion to the people we are serving.”

If you dream of offering the kind of hospitality that's never been seen before, consider booking yourself into the MSc in International Hospitality Management at emlyon business school and Institut Paul Bocuse.

Article written in association with emlyon business school.