Tourism and hospitality continue to be one of the world's fastest-growing sectors, reaching about $1.6 trillion in 2017, and supporting about 7.6 million jobs in the U.S.

Given that California is the top tourism destination in the country, it comes as little surprise to learn that 95 percent of the state's hospitality and tourism students study at a California State University campus.

Even better for students, hospitality is expected to expand even more, with 10 percent growth predicted by 2028. "The travel and tourism sector is growing globally," confirms Carl Winston, director of San Diego State University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The school will soon become the first in the country to offer a degree in meeting and event management.


​​​Tourism & Hospitality: What You Can Study at the CSU

  • Event Management – The event sector is expected to grow 10 percent between 2014 and 2024.
  • Food & Beverage – More than 176,000 new restaurant jobs will be added in California in the next decade. 
  • Lodging – There are more than 207,000 lodging jobs in the state.
  • Travel & Tourism – This sector supports more than eight million jobs in the U.S.
  • Other degrees include private club management, attractions, parks and recreation, and gaming. 

"One of the nicest things about hospitality and tourism jobs is that they can't be exported," Winston notes. "A company may move their facility out of the country, but you can't move a hotel."

Many of the CSU's hospitality and tourism students find careers before or soon after graduation due to both the program's quality and the demand for workers, he explains.  "No other state has the concentration of tourism that we do -– not even close."

Where Hospitality is Headed

At California Polytechnic State University, San Luis ObispoBill Hendricks, Ph.D., director and professor of experience industry management, is leading the state's first degree program in the field.  "[We've redirected] our curriculum to the strategy, design, execution, management and evaluation of experiences,"  Dr. Hendricks explains. "More than ever before, we are adopting the approach that data drives customer, participant and guest experiences."

Similarly, students can study hospitality management with a focus on sustainability at California State University, Monterey Bay, or earn an MBA in Wine Business at Sonoma State University. Or they can earn their degree online through California State University, East Bay.


Other CSU campuses that offer hospitality degrees:  CSU ChicoFresno StateCSU FullertonCSU Long BeachCSU NorthridgeSacramento StateSan Francisco StateSan José State, and CSU San Marcos. Learn more about the CSU's Hospitality and Tourism Alliance.