by Marlon Madden
As officials anticipate a constantly strong rebound of the tourism industry from the near shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is asking on leaders within the region’s bread and butter industry to ramp up efforts to be adequately staffed to fulfill the upcoming surge of arrivals and continued growth.
Drawing attention to a recent statement from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) which predicts “a large increase in global international inbound travel,” CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig noted that the Caribbean’s tourism industry must do more to source and train its own people to fulfill the industry’s growing labour needs.
“The recent statement from WTTC and CHTA knowledge partner ForwardKeys points to strong demand within the months ahead for travel to ‘sun and sea’ destinations reminiscent of the Caribbean and Latin America, that are leading international inbound bookings,” said Madden-Greig, who added that “it’s imperative for our members to be diligent in staffing their properties and enterprises with trained, qualified hospitality professionals.”
This comes as some industry operators in Barbados begin to report a possible labour shortage in some areas. The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is anticipated to perform research to learn how widespread the difficulty is and possible causes.
Nonetheless, Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins said her ministry has already reached out to tertiary level learning institutions to fast-track training opportunities to spice up employment prospects of those taken with the industry.
Madden-Greig pointed to the necessity to re-energize the partnerships between schools, training institutions and the tourism industry, which she said were put in place by many Caribbean jurisdictions previously and played a critical role in creating employment and profession opportunities for hundreds of residents throughout the region.
WTTC’s latest tourism Economic Impact Report indicates that greater than 126 million travel and tourism jobs might be created over the subsequent decade. With an estimated one in every three new jobs created being within the travel and tourism space, officials are anticipating quite a few opportunities for job seekers and businesses searching for to fill those positions.
Madden-Greig said she believed the CHTA’s networking opportunities, the on-the-ground public-private partnerships, and its Caribbean Tourism Job Bank will be useful tools in bridging the labour gap between supply and demand.
“Our Tourism Job Bank is a wonderful, free resource for each employers and job seekers,” she said, while encouraging Caribbean residents seeking tourism-related positions to upload their resumes and credentials to the positioning where they will be reviewed by prospective employers on the lookout for qualified applicants.
CHTA members, who receive free basic postings as a part of their membership advantages, are also encouraged to post open positions to the Caribbean Tourism Job Bank, which will be found at https://jobbank.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/.
Madden-Greig urged all national hotel and tourism associations to proceed partnering with local institutions to fast-track the training of prospective hospitality staff in order that they can benefit from the increasing number of wonderful profession paths the industry offers.
“As an industry, we’d like to make sure that all stakeholders understand the tremendous economic advantages that may accrue from engagement with the hospitality sector. CHTA and our Tourism Job Bank may also help, but more must be done to counter the misinformation that has created doubts concerning the stability and way forward for the industry that surfaced in consequence of the pandemic,” she said.
“The Caribbean tourism industry presents a world of possibilities for skilled growth and development,” added Madden-Greig, noting that there are greater than 1,000 job and profession paths, with over one in five opportunities on the supervisory, management, or ownership levels.