Information for

Tourism Development at Waterloo

Want a career in tourism? This is your boarding call.

Delve into the social, economic, and environmental impacts of tourism in Canada and around the world.

In Tourism Development at Waterloo, you'll discuss the latest issues and trends with internationally recognized professors, and you’ll learn how to plan, manage, and fund tourism experiences in environmentally and culturally sensitive ways. And you’ll do it at a university ranked #1 in Canada for hospitality and leisure management.

Today, tourism is the world's largest industry, accounting for 1 in 10 jobs on the planet. So it’s no surprise that the demand has never been higher for people who can manage and protect tourism destinations — people like Waterloo Tourism Development grads.

100-hour practicum

As part of your program, you’ll spend 100+ hours volunteering for a local tourism business and analyzing real-world tourism destinations.

Disney World exchange

Take your learning off-campus with a study-abroad term at the University of Florida and Walt Disney World Resort. Mouse ears optional.

Students smiling at camera at Disney

Take classes and earn credits during an exchange at the University of Florida and Walt Disney World Resort. Learn about tourism, hospitality, destination and event management in one of the world’s leading tourism destinations.

About the program

Breif CaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

CapEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Development 


TrophyWaterloo ranks top 10 in the world for Tourism

AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of
Applied Health Sciences

Mickey MouseTake part in the Disney Exchange Experience


First-year courses

September to December

REC 100 - Introduction to the Study of Recreation and Leisure
REC 101 - Introduction to Recreation and Leisure Services
REC 120 - Program Management and Evaluation
PSYCH 101 - Introductory Psychology
AHS 107 - Sociology of Activity, Health, and Well-being

January to April

REC 105 - Interdisciplinary Approaches to Leisure
REC 280 - Introduction to Tourism
SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology
1 Tourism Development elective
1 elective


After first year

About half of the classes you’ll take will be Recreation and Leisure Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View all the courses required for your degree.

Customize your degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor/minors as part of your degree.


Sample upper-year courses    

REC 215 – Marketing Recreation and Sport Services
REC 253 – Practicum in Therapeutic Recreation

REC 311 – Event Management
REC 405 – Leisure and Well-being



By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.

Careers and further education

As a graduate, you’ll be well prepared for careers in the planning, management, and funding of tourism experiences and events in Canada and around the world.

While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, graduates who pursue a master's, PhD, or other professional program often continue their education in tourism or business administration (MBA).


Helpful links