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Tourism Studies

The Degree

Associate in Science (A.S.)

The Outlook

A degree in Tourism Studies can take you anywhere - literally! Tourism is a global industry that offers a diversity of career paths not found in most other industries. The U.S. travel and tourism industry generates nearly $1.8 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy each year, and tourism is the second largest industry in the state of New York.

Finger Lakes Community College’s A.S degree in Tourism Studies gives students the knowledge and skills needed for success in a wide variety of careers in the tourism industry. Graduates will be prepared to transfer to four-year institutions in pursuit of baccalaureate degrees in tourism management and business (with focuses such as destination marketing and event management).

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As globalization increases and businesses continue to recognize the value of professionally planned meetings, demand for meetings and events is forecasted to grow. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or tourism management are ideal candidates for job opportunities.

Finger Lakes Community College is one of the only community colleges in the state that offers this unique program. Four-year institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees in tourism studies and related areas include Niagara University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida and others.

The Program

The A.S. in Tourism Studies program provides the preparation needed for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs. FLCC students will learn through classroom instruction, integrated case studies, and visits to venues and destinations. Conferences and special opportunities to learn from high profile tourism professionals play a key role in our commitment to providing a field-based education.

Field Trips: Students get the opportunity to gain real-world insight through a variety of field trips. In recent years, students have attended the Travel Industry of America Marketing Outlook Forum (TIA) and the New York State Governor’s Conference.

For many students, these experiences bring the program to life, connecting the case studies and theories learned in the classroom to real-life examples. This experience can often help a student develop a broader view of these exciting and diverse career fields.

Online Courses: As part of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN), students pursuing the A.S. in Tourism Studies degree may take all of the curriculum requirements online. Students may take a course at a convenient time and place without the need to travel to campus, thus eliminating any time and location restrictions a student may have.

Honors Courses: Students in this program may enroll in our Honors courses, open to all qualified students, which provide enhanced educational experiences for students with outstanding ability. Successful completion of Honors courses or an Honors Certificate may increase student transfer options to four-year institutions.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this degree program, students will be able to:

  • The student will employ a basic knowledge of Tourism to facilitate successful transfer in those disciplines.
  • Tourism Studies students will employ a knowledge of event management components and their centrality to tourism businesses
  • The student will be able to identify the components that contribute to the unique aspects of tourism as a business.
  • The student will interpret statistical data utilizing critical thinking skills and its application in the Tourism Industry.
  • The student will explain the international growth and emerging impact of the Tourism Industry.
  • The student will model professional decorum and behavior.

The Graduates

The tourism industry is one of America's largest employers with 14.4 million total jobs. In 2011, domestic and international visitors to New York State spent $53.8 billion on tourism- related services, ranking the state third behind California and Florida. With the merging of tourism, sports, and entertainment, the continued growth of this industry and career opportunities are assured. Growth has occurred in the areas of destination planning/management; event management; and adventure and experience-based tourism.

Careers and Salary: Having evolved from a travel-agent stereotype, tourism is a profession that increasingly requires preparation at the bachelor's degree level in the areas of management, marketing, planning, and finance. Graduates who earn bachelor’s degrees go on to land jobs such as convention sales manager, casino and theme park marketing manager, director of tourism, event and conference manager, meeting planner, director of conference services, and urban tourism planner. As of May 2012, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual wage for meeting, convention, and event planners was $45,810.

The Faculty

Faculty members in the Tourism Studies degree program hold master's degrees and are responsible for authoring and implementing this award-winning degree program. They were also responsible for the establishment of the Walt Disney World College Program at Finger Lakes. This landmark program was the first destination tourism associate degree program offered by a community college in New York State. Our faculty members are recognized by the State University of New York as Chancellor Award winners for excellence in teaching. They are active members of the local tourism industry and have extensive experience consulting, visiting, and analyzing model destinations across the United States and Canada.