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Study Tourism, Languages and Cultures at Otago

Providing global opportunities

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Tourism, Languages and Cultures is a three-year degree for those who wish to work in the field of tourism in New Zealand or overseas. Knowing the language and culture of another country is invaluable when communicating with people from that country. The global tourism industry is seeking graduates who have multilingual skills and intercultural competencies. This qualification cements the critical and creative attributes typical of Humanities graduates with the cross-cultural agility afforded specifically by BAs in Languages and Cultures.

The University of Otago is the only New Zealand university to offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree combination of this nature, in which students can combine their study of tourism and a specific language and culture of a country in one degree.

What languages/cultures can you study?

You can choose to study one or more of the following languages/cultures: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Māori, Spanish.

Students have the choice of a range of Tourism papers, including events, destination management and ecotourism.

There is also space within this major for you to complement your chosen language/culture specialty with other appropriate Humanities or Business papers.

Background required

Students do not require any particular background to enrol in this subject, and do not need to have studied a language previously. Those students who have existing language skills will be assessed and placed in classes at an appropriate level.

Why study Tourism, Languages and Cultures?

This major subject provides you with a unique opportunity to gain cross-cultural perspectives while also acquiring a solid grounding in tourism management.

In addition:

  • The tourism industry is an exciting sector to work in.
  • Employers in this industry are looking for multilingual employees with a good knowledge of the tourism industry.
  • Employment opportunities are extremely broad, whether in New Zealand or overseas.
  • The New Zealand tourism industry is predicting that larger numbers of additional workers will be required in the future (NZIER predict an additional 36,000 workers being needed by 2025).
  • We operate in a world of increasing global connectivity and the ability to be culturally/globally proficient and to speak a second language is a step towards becoming a “global citizen”

Programme overview

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a three-year degree comprising 20 papers (360 points).

The Tourism, Languages and Cultures major consists of two sets of papers for a total of 15 papers (270 points). This includes:

  • A minimum of seven papers from Tourism (126 points), and seven papers from either Languages and Cultures or Te Tumu (126 points).
  • One additional 18-point paper from either Tourism, Languages and Cultures or Te Tumu will complete the requirements for the major.

Five further Humanities papers (90 points) allow students to complete an additional minor subject if they wish to do so.

Students are encouraged to take papers from at least two different language disciplines to enhance their international perspective.

There is flexibility to personalise a programme of study to meet a student’s particular language and cultural interest, and respond to their future needs. For example, a student with geographically specific employment prospects in mind could give a regional focus to both the tourism and languages/cultures component of their major. A designated co-ordinator in Languages and Cultures will always be on hand to help students plan their degree pathway.

The Tourism, Languages and Cultures major can be specifically tailored to students’ individual needs. Because of the combination of papers that can be selected to complete this major, it is recommended that students contact the Languages and Cultures co- ordinator and one of the programme advisers in Tourism or Te Tumu. You will find their contact information on this page (below).

Teaching style

Papers are taught using a combination of lectures, tutorials and directed readings. Language classes are often small, and students receive personalised attention.

Student exchange and internships

Students will have the opportunity to attend an overseas institution for one or two semesters. Students only pay New Zealand fees and can complete the qualification in the usual three-year timeframe. The minimum grade for students to apply for exchange opportunities is a B average.

Students may also gain practical experience in a workplace through internship opportunities. Ask one of the programme advisers about possible internship options. Contact details are on this page (below).

Career opportunities

Graduates will have a wide range of career opportunities in tourism roles in both the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally.

Graduates in the public sector may predominantly be employed by national and regional tourism organisations (e.g. Tourism New Zealand, Destination Queenstown, Tourism Auckland, China’s National Tourism Agency, Tourism Australia).

Private sector employers are numerous, and may include a wide range of accommodation, activity, transport and infrastructure operators, from the approximately 20,000 small to medium sized tourism-related enterprises in New Zealand, to the larger domestic companies (e.g. Air New Zealand, Tourism Holdings Ltd, Real Journeys, Auckland Airport Ltd, Ngai Tahu Tourism) and multinational employers such as Accor, the Hilton Hotel Group and China Travel Service.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification page.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Tourism, Languages and Cultures

Level Papers Points

TOUR 101  Introduction to Tourism

TOUR 102  Global Tourism




TOUR 217  Tourist Behaviour

TOUR 218  Tourism and Hospitality Enterprise Management

TOUR 219  Destination Management





Two of TOUR 301, TOUR 303, TOUR 304, TOUR 305, TOUR 306



234 further points comprising:

  • 126 points of approved language and/or culture papers, including a minimum of two language acquisition papers in one particular language (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Māori) and including at least two further 300-level papers drawn from the offerings of the Department of Languages and Cultures and/or Te Tumu, the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies
  • One additional 18-point paper from either Tourism or Languages and Cultures
  • Further Arts papers worth 90 points

Notes: At least 90 of these 234 points must be at 200-level or above.
Students with previous experience of a second language will be placed in language papers appropriate to their level.


Total   360

Key information for students

Contact us

Email or

Languages and Cultures component
Associate Professor Cecilia Novero
Dr Tangiwai Rewi

Tourism component
Dr Brent Lovelock