CANANDAIGUA, NY – New data and research from Tourism Economics and the U.S. Travel Association points to travel and tourism playing an important role in employment opportunities and benefits, both locally and nationally.
Jeanne Fagan, Finger Lakes Community College professor of business administration, is quoted in a first-of-its-kind national study showing the long-term benefits of experience working in the travel industry.
The study, called “Fast Forward: Travel Creates Opportunities and Launches Careers,”
found that workers who began their careers in travel achieve higher wages, have greater access to educational opportunities and enjoy better career progression, according to the study of more than 30 years of longitudinal data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analyzed by Oxford Economics and the U.S. Travel Association.
Bureau of Labor Statistics labor force data shows how travel jobs benefit workers and how careers in the industry progress over time compared to workers who began in other industries. (BLS has tracked more than 5,000 workers, interviewing them every year between 1979 and 1994, and every two years between 1994 and 2010.)
The conclusions came as no surprise to Fagan, who teaches tourism courses at FLCC.
She is quoted in the report as follows:
“Travel industry employees have the opportunity to engage with an extremely diverse set of people on a daily basis – people from many different backgrounds, age groups, cultures and personalities. This diversity of interaction builds valuable interpersonal skills that position travel employees for success in many industries. In addition, the travel industry teaches employees how to respond to customer needs by working in an environment that is highly competitive and very dynamic – invaluable experience that helps in every step of the career ladder.”
In the Finger Lakes and in Ontario County, travel and tourism plays a significant role in building careers. According to a 2011 Tourism Economics Study by Oxford Economics Company, 8.6% of total employment in Ontario County is in tourism, and 6.5% of all employment in the Finger Lakes is generated by tourism. In 2011, tourism in the Finger Lakes generated $807 million in direct labor income and $1.4 billion including indirect and induced impacts. Induced impacts are the tertiary benefit to the local economy as incomes in the direct and indirect levels of impact are spent on goods and services. For example, a restaurant employee spends his wages at a grocery store, generating addition economic output.
Valerie Knoblauch, president of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and board member for U.S. Travel's National Destination Council, also cites the value of tourism jobs and the community college role in providing quality workers to the industry. She notes, “Tourism related careers are both high-tech and high-touch. Entry-level workers bring both specialized technical or practical skills that with training, such as that provided through the degree programs at FLCC and four year colleges, are enhanced with high touch people skills. When combined, we've built a solid contributing employee for our industry or any industry. In an interesting kind of way, this parallels the refrain in ‘New York, New York’ - 'If you can succeed here - you can succeed anywhere.' The tourism industry is a place to start a successful career, guaranteed!”
Finger Lakes Community College offers an associate in science degree in tourism studies, meant for those who plan to transfer to a four year school. FLCC also offers associate in applied science degrees in tourism management and in hotel and resort management, both designed for those who want to enter the job market upon graduation. Related degrees are offered in culinary arts and viticulture and wine technology. For more information on FLCC programs, call the One Stop Center at (585) 785-1000.
Finger Lakes Visitors Connection is the official tourism promotion agency for Ontario County and is located at 25 Gorham Street in Canandaigua. For more information, please visit www.visitfingerlakes.com or call the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection at 585-394-3915 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
AJ Shear, Communications Manager Finger Lakes Visitors Connection 585-394-3915 Jeanne Fagan, Professor of Business Administration Finger Lakes Community College 585-785-1365