UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The travel and tourism sector is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, and students interested in that field can now earn a bachelor’s degree online from Penn State.
The commercial recreation and tourism management option of Penn State’s Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management is being offered by Penn State World Campus and the Penn State College of Health and Human Development. Applications are being accepted now for the 120-credit program.
“The people we’re looking to draw are passionate about tourism and recreation and want to turn their passion into a career,” said Brian Soulé, program director and assistant teaching professor.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel and tourism sector grew more last year than any other economic sector besides manufacturing — contributing a record $8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy.
Students in the program will learn about business management in the recreation and tourism industry through courses in sustainability, building and managing a business, and leisure services for diverse audiences, including people with disabilities and multicultural populations. Students will also complete a semester-long internship in their individual areas of interest.
Soulé said the college is working to make the major as flexible as possible to meet the diverse needs and interests of students, who may go on to careers in a wide variety of private and public recreation and leisure services, such as sports or entertainment management.
RPTM department head Peter Newman said students pursuing the degree online will be taught by “the same University Park faculty known across the globe for their talents in teaching and research.” The program was recently ranked in the top three tourism and hospitality programs in the world by the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Universities.
Soulé said Penn State’s global reach in research and teaching positions students to find employment after graduation because of its many industry partners and robust alumni base.
Sonya Leitzell, senior director of academic affairs for World Campus, said the new online option is an important addition to the kinds of degrees available online at Penn State.
“If you’re working in this field, pursuing a degree online may be the best option because of your busy work schedule,” Leitzell said. “We are excited that for the first time this high-quality Penn State education is within reach of people across the globe who make a living working in the tourism industry.