Published On: Wed, Dec 10th, 2014

Emerging technologies in tourism sector could offer new employment in the Caribbean

ilo_tourismPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean hosted a concluding workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 8-9 December 2014, where participants shared findings from their respective countries on “Anticipating Skills Requirements in Tourism: Occupational Trends and Emerging Demands”.

The findings are the result of a 7-month virtual training Programme, a South-South joint collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training (ILO/CINTERFOR), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the National Industrial Training Service (SENAI), Brazil.

The workshop was attended by representatives from National Training Agencies (NTAs), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) from Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St Maarten, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, and facilitated by ILO/CINTERFOR, and SENAI, Brazil.

The programme has equipped participants to anticipate future skills requirements, based on analyses of technological, organizational and occupational trends, and emerging occupations, focusing on the tourism sector, in order to design training programmes that will better match labour market opportunities in five to ten years’ time.

Using SENAI’s methodology, the group highlighted the most important emerging technologies in the tourism sector, such as the use of an electronic tourist pass, personalized electronic guides, electronic booths, global IT booking systems, satellite-enabled environmental management, sustainable management of tourist resources, telecommunications integration, energy-efficient microsystems, food hygiene control systems for hotels and restaurants, equipment and systems to improve accessibility for disabled persons, electronic translation devices, and thalassotherapy equipment for hotels. The increasing use of technology in the tourism sector could provide many diverse employment opportunities, and new skills will need to be developed in the above areas.

During the workshop the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) representative stated that SENAI’s methodology is important for the Eastern Caribbean community, as they are currently in the process of assessing and anticipating the skills needed in the tourism sector in their member states. Several participants stated that they intended to use the methodology to analyse other sectors, and noted that it is crucial to reach out the business sector to ensure that training programmes are continually updated with increasing use of new technologies.

Giovanni di Cola, director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, stated, “The ILO is keen to support such future initiatives aimed at enhancing skills in identified niches of a given sector (such as Tourism), and making sure those skills respond to labour market demands.”

Director of sustainable tourism, ACS, Julio Eduardo Orozco Pérez stressed the importance of the tourism sector for the Caribbean region, and the value of training the regions’ human resources, to ensure competitiveness and quality service.

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