Tourism vocabulary

In the tourism and hospitality industry, communication is a key factor. You’ll spend a lot of time meeting people’s needs, providing services, and solving problems. Even on an international scale, generally it is English that you’ll need to be proficient in, although you will come into contact with people from all around the world.


Like most other sectors, tourism and hospitality has its own set of jargon that it’s important to learn and understand. In this industry you’ll be dealing with people a lot of the time, and you’ll need to ensure you can make recommendations, give instructions and explain situations clearly. We’ve put together a list containing some of the key terms that it’s important to know for jobs in tourism and hospitality.   


Adventure industry

A niche form of tourism that often involves physical activity and exploration to remote places. This can also include meeting and engaging with local cultures. There are many companies that specialise in adventure tourism, with top activities including mountaineering, hiking and kayaking.  

E.g. Emily didn’t want to go on a beach holiday, so she started looking into what the adventure industry had to offer.



Useful infrastructure or services that are intended to make life more pleasant for the people in the general area. In the tourism and hospitality world this would include swimming pools, tourist information centres and spas.

E.g. There were many useful amenities within their hotel complex, including a tennis court.  



Certain types of shops, restaurants, hotels and more may be part of a chain. Chain stores share the same branding and central management, with standardised services and business methods. These types of outlets dominate the tourist industry, with most of the top hotels and popular restaurants for travellers being part of a chain. Examples include Hilton Hotels, Marriot Hotels, and Travelodge.

E.g. Iris trusted the big chain hotels more than the smaller ones that had less reviews online.



A member of hotel staff who is responsible for helping guests with special requests. This can include making reservations, booking taxis and arranging tours or excursions. They also help with sending and receiving packages.

E.g. Richard asked the concierge to look into finding theatre tickets for that night.



A type of tourism that aims to reduce the harmful impact that visitors can have on local communities and environments. Travellers are encouraged to keep their carbon footprint low, support local communities, and not interfere with wildlife.

E.g. The increasing popularity of ecotourism will help to preserve some of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions.  


Front of house

This refers to the area of the business where you serve customers. In tourism and hospitality, this would most likely refer to the front desk, lobby and breakfast area of a hotel. Staff that work in this area are expected to be knowledgeable about the local area and impeccably dressed.

E.g. Gabby’s new job was working front of house at the Holiday Inn.



A package holiday is a type of holiday that is arranged through a travel agent. It is sold for a fixed price and includes the cost of the hotel, travel and usually food.

E.g. Sandra looked into buying a package holiday to Florida.



In the travel industry, the year is divided into three separate seasons: peak season (mid-June to August), shoulder season (April to mid-June and September to October), and off-season (November to March). Peak season is the time of year when most people go on holiday – all of the tourist attractions are open, the weather is nice, and prices are generally steep.

E.g. The hotel was fully booked for the whole of peak season. 



An activity of leisure that people do in their free time for rest and relaxation. Holidaymakers may undertake recreational activities including swimming, going to the beach or visiting attractions.

E.g. Scuba diving is a popular recreational activity in Australia.



A member of hotel staff that performs personal services for guests, this usually involves parking their vehicles.

E.g. Cate left her keys with the valet to park her car.


This just scratches the surface of all of the tourism and hospitality vocabulary there is out there to learn. With a job in this sector, you’ll meet all kinds of people, have opportunities to travel around the world, and learn about various communities and cultures. It’s important to be able to communicate clearly with colleagues and customers alike. To read more about tourism, take a look at our blog post on must-see tourist attractions in London

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