As the tourism sector rebounds strongly from the near shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is calling on the region’s “bread and butter” industry to ramp up efforts to be adequately staffed to meet the impending surge of arrivals and continued growth.
Drawing attention to a recent statement from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) which predicts “a massive increase in global international inbound travel,” CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig noted that the Caribbean’s tourism sector must do more to source and train its own people to meet the industry’s growing labour needs.
“The recent statement from WTTC and CHTA knowledge partner ForwardKeys points to strong demand in the months ahead for travel to ‘sun and sea’ destinations such as the Caribbean and Latin America, which are leading international inbound bookings,” said Madden-Greig, who added that “it is imperative for our members to be diligent in staffing their properties and enterprises with trained, qualified hospitality professionals.”
She also pointed to the need to re-energize the partnerships between schools, training institutions and the tourism industry put in place by many Caribbean jurisdictions in the past which played a critical role in creating employment and career opportunities for thousands of residents throughout the region.
WTTC’s latest tourism Economic Impact Report indicates that more than 126 million travel and tourism jobs will be created over the next decade. With one in every three new jobs created being in the travel and tourism space, opportunities will abound for job seekers and businesses seeking to fill those positions.
The CHTA leader acknowledged there remain some challenges within the region around the labour supply in the market, but she also believes the association’s networking opportunities, the on-the-ground public-private partnerships, and its Caribbean Tourism Job Bank can be useful tools in bridging the gap between supply and demand.
“Our tourism job bank is an excellent, free resource for both employers and job seekers,” stated Madden-Greig, who encouraged Caribbean residents in search of tourism-related positions to upload their resumes and credentials to the site where they can be reviewed by prospective employers looking for qualified applicants.
CHTA members, who receive free basic postings as part of their membership benefits, are also encouraged to post open positions to the Caribbean Tourism Job Bank.
Madden-Greig urged all National Hotel and Tourism Associations to continue partnering with local institutions to fast-track the training of prospective hospitality workers so they can take advantage of the increasing number of excellent career paths the industry offers.
“As an industry, we need to ensure that all stakeholders understand the tremendous economic benefits that can accrue from engagement with the hospitality sector. CHTA and our Tourism Job Bank can help, but more needs to be done to counter the misinformation that has created doubts about the stability and future of the industry that surfaced as a result of the pandemic,” she said.
CHTA continues to encourage young people in the region who are exploring career paths to strongly consider the tourism and hospitality industry as an option that allows one to develop highly competitive skills and affords opportunity to work throughout the region.
“The Caribbean tourism industry presents a world of possibilities for professional growth and development,” said Madden-Greig, noting that there are more than 1,000 job and career paths, with over one in five opportunities at the supervisory, management, or ownership levels.