Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Study Tourism, Languages and Cultures at Otago

Providing global opportunities.

With the growth of tourism in New Zealand and internationally, the tourism industry worldwide is seeking graduates who are multilingual and who have an understanding of the cultural needs of their guests.

The Tourism, Languages and Cultures major subject offers students an opportunity to gain skills to work with people from other cultures in tourism and related business settings, by providing the necessary language literacy and cultural understanding, and cross-cultural perspectives, while also acquiring a solid grounding in tourism management.

What languages/cultures can you study?

You can choose to study one or more of the following languages/cultures: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, or Māori. Students have the choice of a range of tourism papers, and can for example, include events or accommodation management, or ecotourism, among other papers. There is also space within this major for students to complement their 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”

Teaching style

Papers will be taught using a combination of lectures, tutorials and directed readings. Language classes are often small and personalised attention can be given to students.

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 have the opportunity to gain practical experience in a workplace through internship opportunities. Ask one of the Programme Advisers below about possible internship options.

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, but may include a wide range of tourism accommodation, activity, transport and tourism infrastructure operators, from the approximately 20,000 tourism-related small to medium sized 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 or 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