Welcome to Your Arizona Tourism and Hospitality Careers Resource

AZHospitalityCareers.com offers a digital connection platform for Arizona’s employers, educators and job seekers

The tourism industry encompasses a wide variety of careers, settings and work experiences. Wherever people travel, book accommodations and enjoy time away from home (even in a staycation setting), the tourism and hospitality industries are responsible for creating an exceptional guest experience.

In Arizona, tourism and hospitality businesses continually strengthen the local economy. According to economic research organization Common Sense Institute Arizona:

  • The Arizona tourism and sports sector contributed $24.2 billion to Arizona’s real gross domestic product in 2022, which was 6.4% of the state’s economy.
  • In 2022, there were $13.7 billion in direct sales by Arizona’s hotels, performance venues, casinos and other venues within the state’s tourism and sports sector.
  • There were 347,500 people directly and indirectly employed by Arizona’s tourism and sports sector, which represents 11% of the state’s total workforce.

Over the next decade, there’s a 3% projected average annual growth rate in tourism and sports industries in Arizona. That’s a lot of new job opportunities for people seeking meaningful careers.

To meet the demand for employees in Arizona tourism, Pipeline AZ and the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (AzLTA) are launching Arizona Hospitality Careers, a new career exploration platform. Job seekers, employers, educators and workforce organizations can use the platform to access and post jobs in tourism throughout the state. The platform launched in September 2023, and is free to use.

If you’re looking for a job in tourism and hospitality, there’s lots of potential to find a rewarding career in Arizona. Keep reading to learn about the potential benefits of a hospitality or tourism job and what to expect from this career path.

Benefits to Working in Tourism & Hospitality

Tourism jobs are often in high-energy, fast-paced environments. Tourism professionals typically need to provide excellent customer service, tend to multiple responsibilities at once, need to stay organized and must manage their time effectively.

A career in tourism can be rewarding, both while you work in tourism and for how it can influence your future career path. There are currently hundreds of immediate openings for service industry jobs in Arizona and tourism jobs in Arizona.

Working in tourism or hospitality can help you create a career that takes you places – literally! There are tourism jobs available throughout the globe.

Tourism employment has been on the rise in recent months, growing from 12.8 million leisure and hospitality jobs in the U.S. in January 2021 to 16.6 million in July 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As more hotels, restaurants and event spaces open to welcome visitors, the need for tourism professionals will also increase.

With warm climates year-round, gorgeous natural scenery and so many entertaining things to do, it’s no surprise Arizona is an attractive tourist destination. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, overnight visitation totaled 40.19 million in 2022. There were 179,100 tourism-related professionals taking care of guests in Arizona that year.

In April 2024, Arizona will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament in Glendale. The event is expected to bring in at least $150 million in economic revenue to Arizona, as well as tens of thousands of visitors to the state.

There are many pathways to tourism careers in Arizona and beyond. If you’re curious about a career in tourism, here are four ways a tourism job can help you build a meaningful long-term career.

1. Develop Valuable Skills for Any Job

You can use many of the skills you develop in the tourism industry in any type of job. Tourism professionals who deal directly with guests use communication, customer service and relationship building in their work.

Tourism careers also require strong teamwork, time management and problem-solving skills. These skills are valuable additions to a resume and can benefit you in any setting where you work with others to accomplish shared goals.

Working in tourism can also help you develop leadership and management skills. As you work your way up the ladder in the tourism industry, you can gain experience managing others, coordinating teams and working with higher-ups. These skills can be used in management positions in other types of industries.

2. Build Meaningful Relationships

Most tourism jobs require collaboration and working with others. The tourism landscape is also incredibly diverse, attracting hospitality professionals with experience from around the world.

In the tourism industry, you can build your professional network. You can add coworkers you respect and trust as connections online, on your LinkedIn profile. You can develop relationships with career mentors. You can also ask for LinkedIn recommendations from coworkers and supervisors who have seen you do a great job at work.

The relationships you build could lead to your next career move. If you’re interested in developing a new skill set, working in a particular location or getting a job at a certain company, you can let your network know. As you increase your career connections, that can help you achieve your goals.

3. Work Around the World

Tourism is in-demand throughout the globe. Many prominent accommodations brands have global footprints. There may be opportunities for mobility, if you want to transfer locations within the same company.

Working in tourism also exposes you to a global customer base. You may be able to practice your language skills, learn about different cultures and expand your world view. You can also learn about global cuisines depending on the type of food service where you work.

Be sure to communicate your goals and aspirations with your manager frequently in a tourism position. Tourism professionals value talent, ambition and a willingness to learn. If you’re eager to develop and expand your skill set in tourism, you may be able to grow your career in your dream location. 

4. Pursue Your Passions

Finally, working in tourism can be really fun and fulfilling.

Tourism jobs are typically active. You’re not necessarily confined to sitting at a desk all day, unless that’s the type of role you’re interested in. You can move around on your feet, talk with a variety of guests and encounter new challenges depending on what you need to accomplish that day.

Working in tourism, you can pursue passions like culinary arts, luxury travel, entertainment and recreation, event planning and more. Tourism jobs are rarely predictable. That means there’s always something new to look forward to every day on the job.

What Jobs Are There in Tourism?

Jobs in tourism include positions where you’re dealing directly with guests, as well as back-of-house roles that keep tourism and hospitality operations running smoothly.

Some of the different roles and responsibilities you’ll find in tourism are in areas including:

  • Lodging: Hotel and resort managers ensure guests have a positive experience at their accommodations. Hotel professionals may work at a front desk checking guests in and out, as concierges providing guests with recommendations, as housekeepers cleaning rooms and facilities, as bellhops bringing luggage to rooms or as managers directing hotel staff teams and handling guest needs. There are also landscapers and groundskeepers who ensure venues look beautiful to guests.
  • Meetings, conventions and events: Many hotels and large tourism venues host events. Meeting, convention and event professionals assist businesses and event planners with securing accommodations and event space. They help to coordinate large events like conferences, as well as smaller events like weddings.
  • Other venues: Within hotels, there are often venues beyond accommodations, such as restaurants, spas, pools and waterparks. Each of these venues within a venue requires managers and staff to operate. These could include masseuses, aestheticians, restaurant servers and lifeguards.
  • Food service: Food is a big part of the tourism industry. From fine dining restaurants on-site to room service, food operations roles include chefs, line cooks, servers, beverage managers and more.

As you can see, the tourism industry is incredibly varied in terms of what type of work you can pursue.

Another benefit of working in tourism is that with a foot in the door with one position, you may be able to pursue new kinds of work with the same employer. You may also be able to transfer to different locations throughout the nation or the world, depending on the reach of the hospitality brand.

Arizona Tourism Offers Potential

The Arizona tourism market has lots of opportunity. Arizona is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, which U.S. News & World Report ranked as the #3 Best Place to Visit in the USA. The town of Sedona ranked #23, as well.

The state is full of sunshine, high-profile entertainment and an array of dining options. It’s a popular destination for both global travelers and for residents interested in staycation options. If you’re looking for a job that’s fast-paced, exciting and in an enjoyable industry, you may want to pursue work in tourism. Visit Arizona Hospitality Careers to explore careers in hospitality and tourism in Arizona

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