NEWS issues surrounding graduate placements, skills and pay at Abta event in London. Juliet Dennis reports

Nicholls: A sector deal for tourism would boost image


overnment endorsement of a tourism and hospitality sector deal is key to changing the industry’s image as a “lesser career”. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade

body UKHospitality, which represents hotels, bars and restaurants nationwide, said jobs in hospitality, tourism and travel had a poor reputation despite offering clear opportunities to progress up the ladder. Speaking at the Future Skills in Travel and Tourism

seminar hosted by Abta, she said: “We fail the ‘mums and dads’ test. Tey think of our sector as low-paid, low-skilled jobs that you do before moving to something beter. As a sector, tourism, hospitality and travel is seen as a lesser career.” Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, director of the eTourism

Lab at Bournemouth University, agreed: “Our industry is not recognised as a career path. How many people earn more than £30,000 in tourism and hospitality?” Nicholls was “hopeful” a sector deal for the tourism,

hospitality and travel industry would be approved by government this summer. Tis would effectively mean the industry would be taken more seriously and encourage young people to work in the industry, as well as leading to funding to “up-skill” the workforce, she added. She said: “Te government has identified nine sector deals [so far] and we will hopefully be the 10th. Tis will

and is looking at ways to change how it engages with its workforce, said Grant, who looks aſter recruitment for land-based staff. She cited ways internships could

produce “tangible results” for a firm. “Last year, we asked students to

present ideas. Now we have a fish and chip stall on our ships because one of our interns suggested it,” she said. Grant said the company would be

going on a “huge journey” over the next five years as part of a new approach to recruitment. “Bringing in flexible working has been a huge shiſt but to get new talent and retain people we have to do it,” she said.

‘Counter poor pay by offering staff new opportunities’

Poor pay is an industry issue but not the key reason employees leave their jobs in travel, according to recruitment experts. C&M Recruitment director

Barbara Kolosinska said pay featured low on the list of reasons for leaving a job. “Yes, salary is important,” she

said. “ But the reason people leave a job is about work-life balance or other factors.” Danielle Grant, UK human Barbara Kolosinska

resources manager at Royal Caribbean Cruises, said companies had to offer other opportunities to keep their workforce engaged because salaries were typically

Kate Nicholls

be a significant boost and endorsement of this sector of the economy. “Te aim is to boost productivity. Tere is a proposal

for an industry-led £10 million campaign to shiſt perceptions about jobs in hospitality and tourism, and talk to young people about careers. “Our ambition is to encourage people to join the

industry at all levels. Government endorsement is key.” Talks were already under way on how the travel and

hospitality industry could work with government to produce a national training programme to make the sector a “career of choice”, she added.

lower than in other industries. She admited: “It’s about

moving to an agile environment and offering new opportunities every six months so staff can move to a new product or go to work in Miami, for example. Tat’s how we have combated the pay issue.” Chloe Sherriff, contact centre

manager of people and quality at Virgin Holidays, said companies had to use their perks as a way of atracting staff over pay. “With low salaries, you are not

doing the job for the pay but for the love of it,” she said. “We have phenomenal benefits,

such as seven free flights a year and hotel concessions.”

27 JUNE 2019 15

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