The leisure and hospitality industry took a big hit during the COVID pandemic, but it’s poised for a comeback.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy is expected to add 1.9 million jobs in leisure and hospitality during the decade ending in 2031. 

A newly created master’s degree in hospitality being offered at Fordham this fall will give students a key into the fields of hotel operations, development, and management.

“We all experienced the pandemic when you essentially couldn’t travel, and it really is true that if you tell people they can’t do something, that’s the thing they’re going to want to do the most,” said Joshua Harris, Ph.D., director of the Fordham Real Estate Institute, who oversees the program.

“So we see a lot of demand for hotels and travel demand. There’s a lot of growth.”

Harris said the degree, as well as advanced certificates in Hospitality Investment and Development and Hotel Management, will appeal to people who are interested in managing hospitality properties, as well as those who want to invest in them.

Managing and Investing in Hospitality Properties

Offered through the School of Professional and Continuing Studies they are an obvious expansion for the Real Estate Institute, Harris said.

“Hospitality is one of those areas that is very adjacent to what we are doing, as it is essentially an asset class within the real estate world. It’s a very specialized business type of real estate, but it’s always been a natural extension,” he said.

The course selection reflects that connection. Whereas core courses include Travel and Tourism Studies; Marketing, Branding, and Public Relations; and Food Service Management, electives include courses such as Real Estate Valuation and Investment Analysis; Event Management; and Adaptive Reuse and Sustainability. Courses will be offered in person and online.

The certificates are geared toward someone who wants to focus more specifically on either the operations of a hotel or investing in hospitality-related businesses. In addition to coursework, students will have access to mentorship opportunities in the industry.

Not Just Hotels

Harris said he’s bullish on the field because the principles of hospitality can be applied beyond just hotels. Multi-family apartment complexes, co-working spaces, and even higher education institutions are approaching customers in the same way that hotels have long done.

“Hospitality approaches are embedded into more business and operations than ever. It’s going to be one of the biggest themes in a lot of businesses and how they actually manage this new world between online and impersonal services while also still keeping consumers and people happy,” he said.

To learn more, visit the Hospitality Institute webpage.


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.