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.

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

Date Event
1966 BSc (Hons) Hotel and Catering Administration receives approval as the first such degree in the UK.
1967 Rik Medlik appointed Professor of Hotel Management, the first such appointment in the UK.
1967 Tourism introduced as a subject of study on the BSc (Hons) Hotel and Catering Administration course.
1971 First research students recruited for PhD and MPhil courses.
1972 First major textbook on hotel and catering published, Profile of the Hotel & Catering Industry, written by Professor Medlik.
1972 First PhD Tourism awarded.
1972 First PDip Tourism and MSc Tourism introduced.
1974 First major textbook on tourism published, Tourism Past, Present and Future, by AJ Burkart and Professor Medlik.
1981 MSc Tourism Planning and Development introduced.
1983 MSc International Hotel Management introduced.
1984 MSc Tourism Marketing introduced.
1993 MSc Tourism and Hospitality Education introduced.
1999 Recognised 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.
2007 MSc Event Management introduced.
2013 Recipient of the Tourism Society Award for outstanding contribution to the development of tourism in the UK.
2015 Graduation of our 10,000th student.

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686300
  • Fax: +44 (0)1483 686346

Find us

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Austin Pearce Building (AP)
University of Surrey