The number of people applying to study a tourism related degree starting in autumn this year has risen by more than 30% to 12,371, admissions body UCAS has revealed.
A further 2,100 students have applied to study tourism, transport and travel related subjects at foundation and HND level, the figures show.
The numbers are likely to rise as the snapshot of data was taken at UCAS' 15 January advisory closing date for UK and EU applicants - it is possible to apply right up until the start of the academic year.
The numbers will provide a welcome boost to hospitality operators, which have been restricted by a skills shortage for many years.
Last month, research by the CBI and professional services firm KPMG found that two-thirds of companies expect skills shortages to be the biggest obstacle to growth in the first half of 2007.
By Daniel Thomas