Global tourism stakeholders have agreed on the need to increase sector employees by at least 30 per cent each year, part of a wider “paradigm shift” that is vital to attract, retain and adjust staff amid post-COVID-19 shortages.
This is among the findings from a tourism workforce initiative — underpinned by a charter focusing on the growth and retention of employees — that has been unveiled in a bid to combat declining workforce numbers.
A “significant number” of 44 million global tourism workers failed to return after the pandemic and this is taking a toll on hospitality, cruise and aviation. To address the issue the cross-sector collaborative group — unveiled by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett at World Travel Market (WTM) in London — will focus on key areas that need immediate improvement such as wages, working conditions, career paths, empowerment and communication.
Quantifiable annual targets will be set as well as “steadfast” sector commitments towards funding the activities. Enhanced global mentoring and employment programmes may be provided through a global portal.
“The tourism industry needs to recover its attractiveness to workers and should undergo a deep and thorough analysis as to the factors which gave rise to this situation. Tourism, pre-pandemic has not been the best employer and many view our sector as low paying, low skilled and seasonal, offering little job security and social security. Hence, the need for a new charter to reimagine the labour market relations, the re-architecture of the social contract between the workers and the employers of the industry,” Bartlett said.
He noted that the negative employment is threatening the integrity of the promise to offer a seamless and exceptional experience for visitors to destinations.
Spearheaded by Travel Weekly parent Jacobs Media Group (JMG)-backed Resilience Council, which Bartlett co-chairs, and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), the cross-sector collaborative working group is being formed with participants across the industry.