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You are here: Home » Career Sector Information » Leisure, Sport & Tourism

Leisure, Sport & Tourism

Leisure, Sport & Tourism

From catering weddings to teaching kids to swim, the Leisure, Sport and Tourism industry is wide reaching and varied and one of the biggest industries in the UK. Tourism is Britain's third largest industry with job growth in the sector more than UK average. There's about 4.5m people employed in the sector in the UK and about 150,000 working in Yorkshire. The sector is mostly made up of young workers with almost half of all workers in the industry aged 16 to 24. 

This sector is wide ranging and there's loads of different employment options, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars, contract catering, conference and event management, tour operation, travel agencies, tourist boards and information (public and private sector), tourism consultancy, sports administration, fitness and leisure facilities, coaching and sports development.

Yorkshire has over 1,000 square miles of National Parks making up about 20% of the region and business in and around the parks generates almost £2 billion every year and supports around 35,000 jobs. York and other North Yorkshire towns such as Harrogate are prime tourist locations and have successfully blended the old and new in order to keep attracting the visitor numbers.  

Yorkshire's tourist industry is fast growing and there's loads going on to attract visitors to the region in both urban areas as well as country-based settings such as tourism destinations, resorts and out of town facilities. Visitors to the region spend over £4 billion per annum across the region.  Websites of the appropriate professional bodies for each sub sector can provide searchable databases that give a more regional picture of employers and opportunities in the Yorkshire area.

There are also good options to work in sport and leisure activities in both the cities and rural locations.  Sheffield is the National City of Sport with some of the best sporting and leisure facilities in the country as a legacy of hosting The World Student Games.  These facilities include a 25,000 seater athletics stadium and a 10,000 seater arena and exhibition centre both of which are now being booked up for major sporting and leisure events.  The English Institute of Sport is also based in the city which encompasses the World Snooker Academy. The World Snooker Championships are also held annually at the Crucible Theatre in the city. Being so close to the Peak District makes Sheffield a popular destination for climbers, walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Various industries supporting these outdoor pursuits also provide opportunities for employment in the region.

The range of work in this sector varies from client-facing services emphasising customer care in food, drink or hotel settings, to strategic and developmental planning in a tourism or leisure areas. Jobs in the sector can offer quick career progression from non-professional positions to supervisory and managerial positions. The sector offers many opportunities for graduates and it's advisable to gain some good related work experience through placement, part-time and summer work if your looking to work in the area. Some related extracurricular activity such as performance or coaching in sport can also make you more attractive to potential employers. Specialist skills in IT, marketing, information services and HR are often utilised in the area overall and can be useful areas to gain prior experience in.

Tourism related qualifications can be studied at undergraduate level at the Universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds Metropolitan, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam and at York St John College.  Postgraduate level qualifications in tourism are on offer at Hull, Leeds Metropolitan and Sheffield Hallam.

Hospitality degrees can be studied at Huddersfield University, Leeds Metropolitan and Sheffield Hallam with postgraduate level courses also on offer at Leeds Trinity and All Saints. Degrees in leisure related studies are available at the following universities in the region: Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam and at Leeds Trinity and All Saints and York St John Colleges. At postgraduate level, leisure qualifications are on offer at Hull, Leeds Metropolitan, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam and Leeds Trinity and All Saints College.

Job vacancies in Leisure, Sport & Tourism

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Useful links:

People 1st

The Sector Skills Council for the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism industries, ensuring that the right skills are being developed for the sector.  


SPRIG provides information resources for the Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism industries.  Use their website to find out more about statistics relating to this sector. 

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

The DCMS' aim is to improve the quality of life for all through cultural and sporting activities, to support the pursuit of excellence and to champion the tourism, creative and leisure industries.

Yorkshire Tourist Board

The Yorkshire Tourist Board (YTB) was established in 1971 as a partnership of public bodies and private sector operators interested in developing sustainable tourism and the benefits it brings to the region.  You can locate specific tourist offices within the region on the website.

Yorkshire Tourist Board Business Advice

This is the official business-to-business website for the tourism industry in Yorkshire, with information about businesses within the tourism sector, on how to start your own business within this sector and the grants available, and containing research and statistics about tourism in this region.

Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT)

ITT is the professional membership body for individuals employed in the travel and tourism industry which aims to maintain and develop professional standards in the travel industry and related marketing, publishing and legal sectors.

Intute: Sports Related Information

Use this link to search or sport and leisure related information.  Includes regionally-specific information.


Use the search facility to find out about the courses available in tourism, hospitality and leisure in the Yorkshire region.