UNWTO summit lays out HR reforms in tourism
Doha, April 23, 2009
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) summit has identified and addressed the key issues facing tourism human resources in the region, according to a statement.
The two-day UNWTO summit, which was organised by Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (QTEA), ended yesterday (April 22).
The Qatar summit has demonstrated the complexity of labour markets in the region and constantly returned to the fact that the rapid growth of tourism in the region brings with it issues of labour supply gaps and skills shortage.
The summit identified a range of human resource challenges for tourism:
Tourism employment comes in the shape of a broad spectrum of roles and varied tasks, across all sectors benefiting in particular women, the young and the unemployed.
Tourism is well known as a generator of employment, so a well-trained tourism labour force will both anticipate and remedy such economic crisis.
Longer-term challenges include the poor image and lack of understanding of tourism jobs, and the fact that availability of labour and skills is highly variable across the region.
According to the January 2009 issue of the UNWTO World Tourism barometer, in 2008, international tourist arrivals worldwide increased by 2 per cent.
The Middle East registered the best performance among all world regions with 11 per cent growth in international tourist arrivals in 2008 over the previous year.
Based on passenger traffic data from worldwide airports for the first two months of 2009, it appears that of all the world regions, the Middle East is the least affected y the global crisis thus far. It was the only region with a positive traffic growth of 3.1 per cent.
Dr Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the UNWTO, presented to the members of the commission a snapshot analysis of the current economic downturn’s impact on tourism in the Mena region.
Country briefs and response measures were also discussed in a regional perspective.
Professor Chris Cooper, summit moderator, said: “The message of this summit is clear – tourism is a people-centered industry, the sector must invest in the education, training and development of the labour force to secure the future.”
Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of QTEA, said: “I am really pleased QTEA hosted this UNWTO conference. With 250 participants, we shared different experiences and had very fruitful discussions that enabled us to create a roadmap with four pillars of reform. Tourism is a key economic pillar and we need to ensure the future of the region.” – TradeArabia News Service