KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has expressed that the renewal of human capital will be crucial to fuelling the sustainable and accelerated growth of the tourism sector, and the Jamaican economy overall.
Minister Bartlett believes that this can only be achieved in the post-COVID-19 era through the introduction of a robust framework to facilitate the revitalisation of the human capital in the tourism sector and address key labour market challenges. The Minister made the disclosure during his keynote address at the Mico Centennial International Education Symposium hosted by The Mico University College Alumni Association (MOSA) in collaboration with The Mico University College, at the Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday, August 11, 2022.
Minister Bartlett indicates that the process of addressing such challenges is being led by the recently established Tourism Labour Market Committee, which forms part of the expanded Tourism Recovery Task Force. Earlier this year, the Task Force was restructured to include six committees in order to address several COVID-19 related issues within the sector and guide its full restoration.
The reorganised Task Force, which was first established to increase vaccination levels among tourism workers, also focuses on issues such as creating a conducive legislative and regulatory environment, boosting marketing and investment, as well as enhancing synergies with the entertainment sector.
In expounding on the role of the Tourism Labour Market Committee and its benefits to the recovery process, Minister Bartlett noted that it is necessary to “identify solutions to address some of the traditional constraints to the mobility of the country’s tourism workforce, fill workforce gaps through skill development and training, and raise the overall prospects and attractiveness of the tourism sector as a career option for persons seeking high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
He expressed that the Committee will aid the sector in responding to new labour market trends. “Several trends are impacting the skills needed to perform competently in tourism-related jobs, such as digitalization and virtualization, the demand for sustainable behaviours and practices, the growth of non-traditional segments, the changing demographics of international travellers, changing lifestyles and consumer demands,” he explained.
The Tourism Minister outlined that while traditionally the tourism sector has enjoyed one of the highest rates of labour mobility of any segment of the economy, “it is equally true that many of the opportunities taken up by our citizens are those that require low skill and offer limited prospect for economic mobility,” adding that the Committee is seeking to address situations like these.
He also noted that this type of intervention will foster continued growth through “strategies that will ensure that the right people with the right skills are available to meet the growing demand for diversified human capital.”