Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the tourism industry has undergone a significant transformation in the wake of COVID-19 and that its future success now depends on the ability of its workforce to create innovative and distinctive experiences.
The Minister made these remarks on Friday, March 3, 2023, at the inaugural Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation's Tourism Career Expo, hosted by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
During his speech to the over 400 students in attendance, he took the opportunity to urge young Jamaicans to consider tourism as a promising career option, emphasizing the importance of rethinking their perspective on the industry. Bartlett highlighted that the reimagined tourism sector is not only financially rewarding but also thrives on input from individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds, ranging from industries directly linked to tourism to those indirectly associated with it.
"We are inviting you to an industry that will give you an opportunity to realize your best self. It will enable you to innovate, to think, to act, and to also convert information, knowledge, and ideas into value added experiences. When you enter this tourism experience, which we are asking you to join, it is the beginning of a whole new development of yourself and an expansion of your capacity to do and to be," said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister stated that the post-Covid industry requires a diverse range of talents, including those in fields like nuclear science, robotics, and nanotechnology. He also stressed that the future of work in tourism will significantly transform the sector, as machine intelligence and the internet of things will revolutionise the way basic services are provided. He predicted that this transformation would eliminate 70% of informal activities in tourism that pay lower remuneration, paving the way for more skilled and higher-paying job opportunities.
"Because machine intelligence and the internet of things are going to change the way basic services are provided in tourism. You [the youth of Jamaica] are going to be the manipulators of these gadgetries that flow from the internet of things… Then 3-D technology is going to create opportunities for the reproduction of goods in a manner that is impossible for a human being to do. So, what then is the future for you in tourism? It is going to be for you to be the drivers of new experiences," said Minister Bartlett.
The recently concluded tourism career expo was an integral component of the JCTI's public education programme, which aims to provide internationally recognised certification for individuals interested in pursuing a career in tourism. In addition to certification, the JCTI, which is a department of the TEF, is responsible for raising awareness among Jamaican youth, including high school and college students, about the multitude of opportunities available in the tourism industry.
The main objective of the career expo was to broaden young Jamaicans’ understanding of the various job roles in tourism as well as introduce students to both traditional and non-traditional career paths. Furthermore, the event served as a platform to connect employers and professionals with prospective job seekers and interns, while also providing recruitment professionals and guidance counsellors with valuable information about available tourism jobs.