We have been pioneering research and teaching in hospitality, tourism and events management for over 60 years. We were the first university to receive the Tourism Society Award in recognition of our commitment to excellence in the tourism industry and the first institution in the UK to receive UNWTO TedQual certification for our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


  • Beijing International University, China (Study Abroad Programme)
  • Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, China (Study Abroad Programme)
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (Dual PhD Programme, Study Abroad Programme)
  • La Trobe University, Australia (Study Abroad Programme)
  • MODUL University Vienna, Austria (Study Abroad Programme)
  • Nankai University, China (Dual PhD Programme)
  • Shandong University, China (4+1 Programme)
  • Sun-Yat Sen University, China (Tripartite Research Partner)
  • Temple University, USA (Study Abroad Programme)
  • Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada (Study Abroad Programme)
  • University of Central Florida, USA (Study Abroad Programme)
  • University of Macau, Macau (Study Abroad Programme)
  • The University of Queensland, Australia (Tripartite Research Partner, Exchange Programme)
  • Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (Exchange Programme)

Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

BAME Women in Travel logo

We are proud to team up with BAME Women in Travel CIC in their efforts to bring diversity and inclusion centre stage within the hospitality, tourism and travel sector. The initiative brings together forward-thinking organisations to address shared challenges around racial equity in the travel industry, ranging from allyship in the workplace to diversifying travel marketing.

We aim to work closely with Women in Travel in their efforts to set tangible targets to increase BAME representation within hospitality, tourism and travel in establishing best practice guidelines. The association aims to take advantage of the cutting-edge research expertise we have in hospitality, travel and tourism, whilst benefiting from the resources, networks and opportunities of CIC Women in Travel for students and staff.


We are proud to be part of the Working Group that helps shape and among the first signatories of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)'s Cancun Women's Declaration, a pledge to work towards women’s equality and boost female representation in leadership roles in the travel and tourism industry. The declaration was announced at WTTC Global Summit 2021 in Cancun, Mexico on 27 April 2021. As an academic institution, we are committed to promote women equality and equity as well as to create an environment that forsters opportunities and encourages skills development for women through ensuring balanced, unbiased curriculum that includes content for and is representative of all genders, reinforcing a code of conduct to guarantee equitable access to opportunities for women, and creating initiatives to help women develop their careers and networks. See the WTTC's Women's Declaration here. 

Our beginnings

Professor Rik Medlik was the founder of our School and was Head of School between 1967 and 1977.

After fleeing the communist government that seized power over his native Czechoslovakia, Medlik sought refuge in the UK, graduated as a Bachelor of Commerce and dedicated his life to studies in the service sector. He recognised that Britain could have a prosperous future in the hotel and tourism industry at a time when the country solely saw itself as the manufacturing workshop of the world.

Medlik pioneered tourism and hospitality as subjects of serious study. He was responsible for the first degree courses in the field in 1966 and the first research degrees in 1971 – all inaugurated at the University of Surrey. He wrote the first books on the subject, established the first academic journals and created the first tourism professional body.

Timeline of progression

1966BSc (Hons) Hotel and Catering Administration receives approval as the first such degree in the UK.
1967Rik Medlik appointed Professor of Hotel Management, the first such appointment in the UK.
1967Tourism introduced as a subject of study on the BSc (Hons) Hotel and Catering Administration course.
1971First research students recruited for PhD and MPhil courses.
1972First major textbook on hotel and catering published, Profile of the Hotel & Catering Industry, written by Professor Medlik.
1972First PhD Tourism awarded.
1972First PDip Tourism and MSc Tourism introduced.
1974First major textbook on tourism published, Tourism Past, Present and Future, by AJ Burkart and Professor Medlik.
1981MSc Tourism Planning and Development introduced.
1983MSc International Hotel Management introduced.
1984MSc Tourism Marketing introduced.
1993MSc Tourism and Hospitality Education introduced.
1999Recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for our promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism.

Undergraduate courses reorganised and extended to include:

  • BSc (Hons) International Hospitality Management
  • BSc (Hons) International Tourism Management
  • BSc (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism Management.
2007MSc Event Management introduced.
2013Recipient of the Tourism Society Award for outstanding contribution to the development of tourism in the UK.
2015Graduation of our 10,000th student.

Lakeside Restaurant and Coffee Shop

We are home to Lakeside Restaurant and Lakeside Coffee Shop, situated on our Stag Hill campus.