CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The state Division of Tourism is giving the thumbs up to a new tourism degree at WVU. The University recently announced it’s created a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management under the College of Business and Economics.
WVU previously offered an area of emphasis in tourism but this move creates a program unto itself.
Jacqueline Proctor, with the state Division of Tourism, called the program a win/win.
“[WVU] is focusing on helping to educate and create a workforce for the tourism industry for the state,” explained Proctor. “It’s really spectacular!”
University officials said WVU is already a “living laboratory” when it comes to hospitality and tourism. There’s food service at the Mountainlair. They partner with Morgantown’s Waterfront Place Hotel, for student access to “both front-door and back-of-the-house operations.” Then there are dozens of outdoor activities, in and around Morgantown, that students can learn from.
“In terms of thinking about job creation possibilities and having a readied workforce, this is a great step in that direction,” stressed Proctor.
Tourism brings in billions of dollars to West Virginia each year. From bread and breakfasts to the ski industry, the Hatfield-McCoy Trail to the Greenbrier. The degree will prepare students to take on all sorts of tourism employment.
WVU will be one of only 40 or so accredited schools in the U.S. to have a hospitality degree program.
“That just lends even more credibility to our industry as a whole and really, I believe, elevates our visibility as a state because we do take it seriously,” according to Proctor
She said one of the best parts of the program is that WVU will be training West Virginia students.
“It’s another opportunity for young people to find potential jobs and stay here in West Virginia.”
The dean of the program stresses the goal is to offer one of the premier hospitality degrees in the country.