Guest blog by Omar Hazineh, Executive Director, Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association
It wasn't long ago that hospitality was regarded as one of the most promising careers. A degree in hospitality management could pave the way for a prosperous future.
Few businesses have been hammered as severely as the hospitality industry, which has seen widespread layoffs and furloughs. Even though performance is improving compared to the last few months, travel and hospitality services’ demand will not return to pre-pandemic levels until mid-2024.
As of December 2019, the tourism sector employed close to 55,000 direct employees, with another 250,000 jobs indirectly through other sectors that interact closely with it. The tourism sector boasts a number of key subsectors that make up its totality, including:
The interaction of those business together complement the guest journey throughout Jordan, and it is vital that people coming into the sector understand the dynamics of how they work together, intricately working with one another to ensure our guests leave with a positive experience.
Faced with a grim employment market, recent graduates must seek ways to use their abilities in other sectors, while educators must utilize the pandemic and adverse side-effects as an opportunity to teach current students about crisis management in a real-world setting.
Students planning to begin internships this summer were left empty-handed, while graduates with employment offers had their start dates moved back, or were canceled entirely. The current crisis is being used by hospitality programs and recent graduates to highlight relevant skills. Besides finding or creating new opportunities, recent grads are recommended to look at further education, hoping they’ll have additional qualifications by the time the current crisis abides.
We all agree that “business as usual” post-COVID will surely not be the same as “business as usual” pre-COVID. Both businesses and employees must understand that there are new dynamics in place, whether it be on the demand side or supply side, and we must all work collectively to understand the need of our future travelers.
This can only be achieved by looking deep into our skill sets, and realize that we all need to work on not only improving them, but also learning new ones, to be able to be agile for the new era of travel. If we are to look at tourism recovery post-COVID, it would have to revolve around one of the following pillars:
Communication, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, IT skills, and customer satisfaction are amongst the imperative skillsets needed in today’s world. Employers are encouraged to hire people based on skills that they possess, rather than purely on qualification, and it is up to both public and private sector stakeholder to work together on fostering an environment of skill development, and ensuring that the labor market is able to absorb education outputs.