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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 #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 Tourism Development grads.

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.


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 Tourism Development 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 research

AHS brain symbolOffered by the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Mickey MouseTake part in the Disney Exchange Experience


Careers and further education

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).

First-year Tourism Development 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
1 Tourism Development elective
2 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


Customize your tourism degree

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

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

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.

Learn more about Tourism Development