Kharkiv University has become the only one among classical universities to institutionalize tourism education in a separate school. Tourism became a speciality (major) in the University in 2003. Later, in 2005, it served as the basis for creation of the Department of Travel Business that became a structural subdivision of the newly founded School of International Economic Relations and Travel Business.
The founders of the Department and the School were the distinguished University scholars Full Professors V. V. Aleksandrov and A. P. Holikov. The first Head of the Department and actually its founder was First Vice-Presidents of the University, Full Professor V. V. Aleksandrov.
The Department was created to meet the requirements of the general transfer of the market economic systems to the post-industrial model of development where the service industry is gaining more and more functional importance. In particular, travel business produces 35% of export services. International tourism yields over 2 billion dollars of daily profit. The number of people involved in the travel industry and related areas is over 8% of able-bodied population of the world. According to the forecasts of the World Tourism Organization by 2020 the number of travelers around the world will reach 1.56 billion people.