For those addicted to travel, a tourism job abroad is often the first and most natural career choice. Since there are a number of employment paths in the tourism field, what you choose to do is somewhat dependent on where you choose to live. It is also always exciting to live and work abroad in countries that most people only dream of traveling to!
Why Work Abroad in Tourism
Working in tourism abroad is an excellent way to get real experience in the field you are interested in. It also demonstrates on your resume that you have the practical knowledge necessary to be successful in the highly competitive and always developing world of tourism.
While working abroad at a hotel, resort, restaurant, local attractions, events and conferences, tourism board, or travel company, you’ll gain hands-on experience in the core of the industry: travel and each of its moving parts to accommodate guests. While working abroad in tourism, your skills will grow significantly by learning the systems and processes utilized abroad. You’ll learn how local issues impact the tourism industry as well as how tourism impacts local communities.
With international travel expanding to include regions and countries otherwise overlooked in previous years, tourism jobs abroad can stretch to all corners of the world. However, there are certainly a few areas on the globe that have a higher concentration of tourists annually.
Europe is one of the most highly-visited continents by travelers throughout the world. These countries have been popular for centuries, making a culture of tourism deeply rooted in European societies. Destinations such as France, Italy, and Spain are especially popular, and the tourism industries there are concentrated on the historical and cultural traditions of each country.
Australia and New Zealand have been experiencing an increase in tourism in recent years. From the coasts, to the mountains, to bustling cities, these countries are prime locations for those looking to explore beyond the well-beaten path of Europe’s historical landmarks. Tourists in Australia and New Zealand are typically younger, making for a very vibrant and energetic travel culture that can be exciting to work in.
South America and Central America, with their various indigenous and Hispanic cultures, ancient ruins, and delicious food, have been making a name for themselves in the tourism industry. Specifically, ecotourism has boomed in certain countries, such as Costa Rica, shifting travelers’ typical exploration of cities to the rainforests and beaches and emphasizing an appreciation for natural beauty as well as man-made wonders.
Tourism Jobs Abroad
There are a number of different paths to take when searching for a tourism job abroad, and your decision on what career to follow is entirely dependent on your skills, goals, and where you plan to work.
Perhaps one of the most common jobs in tourism is working as a flight attendant, which provides you with endless opportunities to travel the world while working. If you don’t mind living out of a suitcase and you can’t decide on which country to settle in, a career in the airline industry might be right for you.
In some countries, you can legally work as a freelance tour guide. In order to work abroad as a tour guide, you must truly know the area in which you are working, everything from the history, to the language, to the culture, to when the buses arrive and where the best food is. Working abroad as a freelance tour guide allows you to live amongst locals, but also constantly share the beauty of your adopted country with travelers just like yourself.
Many hostels, hotels, beach resorts, and ski lodges throughout the world typically hire great numbers of staff for seasonal hospitality work. These tourism jobs are usually offered during the peak tourist seasons for each particular location—for the urban hubs of Europe, this typically lasts from late spring to the end of summer whereas ski resorts in South Korea will hire primarily in the winter months. Most temporary tourism jobs abroad are filled by young adults from all over the world, creating a multicultural and entertaining workplace.
For those interested in a more corporate environment, travel companies that organize group tours abroad may be a good choice. These can be boat cruises, walking tours of different cities, or perhaps even multiple countries within a continent. Some of these tourism jobs may include the operations and planning of the trips beforehand or the on-the-ground execution and logistics of leading groups of tourists through unfamiliar country. Working abroad in large travel agencies allows you to work within the field of tourism in a career-driven and competitive environment.
Salaries & Affordability
Salaries for international tourism jobs will vary depending on what part of the industry you decide to work in and what country you choose to live in.
The average flight attendants’ salary is around $38,800, whereas those interested in working as a tour guide can make anywhere between $27,000 and $40,000, although your salary is commensurate with your level of knowledge and experience. When working as a contracted tour guide (hired by another company to give tours), the company will typically pay you a lower base salary, with the assumption that you will earn more in tips.
In Europe, full-time work in hospitality will pay approximately $1,500 a month, sometimes with a room and some food provided. However, this may vary from country to country; the type of establishment (hostel vs. resort) may also affect your salary too.
Although the corporate world of travel provides less on-the-ground experience, you are compensated by a higher salary. Tour consultants for companies that organize tours abroad can earn on average around $41,000 with the opportunity for bonuses.
Benefits & Challenges
International tourism jobs can set you on a path towards an exciting career that allows you to continue to experience the rewarding challenges and excitement of living and working abroad. Future employers will see that you have practical knowledge and hands-on experience in the tourism industry, which will be helpful as you continue your career.
Some countries require you to have a sponsored visa in order to live and work in-country. Additionally, working as a freelance tour guide in certain parts of the world requires a level of education on par with that of a university history professor in order to be a certified guide. You must know your chosen region or country thoroughly in order to be an effective guide.
Working in tourism abroad does not necessarily mean that you will simply be paid to travel. It is a challenging, time-consuming field of work that requires a great deal of dedication and know-how in order to succeed. However, it is also an incredibly rewarding career path that connects you with other travelers and the country in which you decide to work abroad in. Not to mention the opportunity to live where others are merely vacationing is a huge bonus!