Tourism Development

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, you'll discuss the latest issues and trends with internationally recognized professors, and you’ll learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate tourism experiences in environmentally and culturally sensitive ways. And you’ll do it at a university ranked first in Canada for hospitality and leisure management (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019).

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 Tourism Development grads and co-op students.

Graduate with experience

Gain 100+ hours of experience with a local tourism business as well as analyzing real-world tourism destinations.

Disney World exchange

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

Rachel, a tourism student from the University of Waterloo, promotes her work with Parks Canada at her information booth and smiles at the camera.

Through her co-op work terms, Rachel has explored many different careers. Her co-op work term with Parks Canada helped her realize her love for teaching kids about conservation, preservation, and ecology.

TrophyWaterloo ranks top 10 in the world for tourism research

Breif CaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

Mickey MouseTake part in the Disney Exchange Experience


Tourism Development admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of 70% is required)

Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


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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 280 - Introduction to Tourism
  • SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology
  • One Tourism Development elective
  • Two electives

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.

Sample upper-year courses

REC 215 – Marketing Recreation and Sport Services
REC 380 – Tourism Analysis
REC 311 – Event Management
REC 405 – Leisure and Well-being


AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

ClickApply via Recreation and Leisure Studies and choose Tourism Development as your major

CapEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Development 


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

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.

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of interest and expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular areas of focus for Tourism Development students include Event Management, Environment, Resources and Sustainability, and Management Studies.

What can you do with a degree in Tourism Development?

As a graduate, you’ll be well prepared for careers developing, implementing, and evaluating tourism experiences and events in Canada and around the world. Possible careers you could pursue with a degree in Tourism Development include

  • tourism development manager
  • marketing executive in the travel industry
  • outdoor activities/education manager
  • regional tourism director
  • tourism development planner
  • economic development: tourism sector/ development planning
  • international travel advisor/manager
  • hotel/hospitality 

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 (MBA).

Learn about the future of careers in the health and helping professions.

Ready to learn more?