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Επανεξέταση του τουρισμού για το μέλλον

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In the last decade or so, tourism has positioned itself as a critical variable in the development planning space and the development discourse globally. Today businesses, governments, international organizations as well as NGOs have established, or are establishing programs, initiatives and programs to facilitate tourism for development. Academic institutions have also been introducing, organizing or reorganizing ‘tourism’ as an important element of their curriculum. The University of the West Indies is no exception. Through its many courses, centers and institutes, the UWI has been preparing our Caribbean nationals for the expanding opportunities and benefits being presented by the growth of the tourism sector. But we have much more to do.

Τουρισμός και ανάπτυξη

According to the UNTWO, WTTC, CTO, PATA and several other regional and global institutions, tourism has been recognized as that force, which accelerates human development, social and economic inclusiveness, increased entrepreneurship and self-employment, the generation of decent work, environmental sustainability and also support regional integration.

Indeed, the contribution of tourism to both national and regional development continues to be enormous and I dare say unmatched. Firstly, tourism is linked to the notion of a sustainable economy in several ways. The economic indicators show that Caribbean is the most-tourism dependent in the world, tourism is the main economic sector in 16 out of 28 Caribbean states and the total contribution of tourism to employment in the Caribbean is estimated at 2.4 million jobs according to the World Travel and Tourism Annual Report for 2018. In Jamaica tourism employs one in every four persons.

Πέρα από τον άμεσο τουρισμό απασχόλησης και τη φιλοξενία, υπάρχουν τεράστιες έμμεσες ευκαιρίες για την παροχή εισροών σε τουριστικές επιχειρήσεις που ικανοποιούν την εμπειρία των επισκεπτών σε τομείς όπως καταλύματα, τρόφιμα και ποτά, πολιτιστικές και δημιουργικές τέχνες, ψυχαγωγία και αναψυχή, γεωργία, μεταποίηση, τραπεζικές και χρηματοοικονομικές και ξένες ανταλλαγή.

Tourism is also linked to the preservation of heritage and culture through the concept of experiential tourism. Most tourists travel to have authentic experiences that require that they partake in activities and consume and acquire products/goods that are indigenous to the countries they travel. Tourism thus helps to preserve natural and cultural resources while generating revenues and incomes for local populations.

To unlock the potential of tourism to contribute to inclusive growth and development our main focus at the Ministry of Tourism is to find innovate ways to reduce economic leakage in the tourism sector and to improve retention. This mandate is already being executed through our Linkages Network which has been coordinating policies and strategies designed to strengthen linkages with other sectors of the economy particularly the agricultural and manufacturing sector, strengthen the benefits derived from the industry by local residents and communities and promote broader participation by nationals.

We however recognize that the competitiveness 0f the Caribbean destinations will significantly rely on how well we prepare our people for the emerging opportunities. If Caribbean destinations are to remain globally-competitive and increase their share of the global tourist market, we must find ways to unlock new sources of competitiveness and comparative advantage.

Traditionally the tourism sector has enjoyed one of the highest rates of labor mobility of any segment of the economy. However, many of the opportunities taken up by our citizens are those that require low skill and offer limited prospect for economic mobility. This fact is largely attributable to the fact that the majority of the tourism-related jobs are deemed to require low to medium-level technical skills. The global tourism market is however becoming increasingly differentiated and segmented. Consequently, the continued growth of Travel & Tourism in the region will depend on the right people with the right skills being available to meet this demand for additional human capital. And we at the MOT have been working to create a paradigm shift in the local tourism space which will see our citizens accessing more substantive jobs and I will discuss this some more in a minute.

Πολλές τάσεις επηρεάζουν τις δεξιότητες που απαιτούνται για την αποτελεσματική απόδοση σε θέσεις εργασίας που σχετίζονται με τον τουρισμό, όπως η ψηφιοποίηση και η εικονικοποίηση, η ανάγκη για βιώσιμες συμπεριφορές και πρακτικές, η ανάπτυξη μη παραδοσιακών τμημάτων, τα μεταβαλλόμενα δημογραφικά στοιχεία των διεθνών ταξιδιωτών (πιο νεανικά, πιο συγκεκριμένα) , αλλάζοντας τον τρόπο ζωής και τις απαιτήσεις των καταναλωτών και την ανάγκη για πολιτικές βάσει δεδομένων. Η τεχνολογία είχε σημαντικό αντίκτυπο στην απασχόληση που σχετίζεται με τον τουρισμό, καθώς και στη στήριξη και αλλαγή του τρόπου παροχής των υπηρεσιών. Ενώ η τεχνολογία έχει υποβαθμίσει ορισμένες δεξιότητες στον τομέα του τουρισμού, έχει αναβαθμίσει άλλες δεξιότητες, ιδίως στους τομείς του μάρκετινγκ, της πληροφόρησης και της επικοινωνίας. Οι προορισμοί της Καραϊβικής πρέπει να αναγνωρίσουν τις διαφορετικές προτιμήσεις μιας νέας γενιάς νεότερων ταξιδιωτών και την αυξανόμενη σημασία των διαδικτυακών υπηρεσιών και του μάρκετινγκ, ειδικά μέσω του κινητού διαδικτύου. Το μέλλον του τουρισμού έγκειται στη χειραγώγηση και την αξιοποίηση των δυνατοτήτων ΤΠΕ, όπως μεγάλα δεδομένα, αναλυτικά δεδομένα μεγάλων δεδομένων, μηχανική μάθηση, τεχνολογίες blockchain, Διαδίκτυο των πραγμάτων, ρομποτική κ.λπ. που παράγονται στους τομείς που σχετίζονται με τις ΤΠΕ στον τουρισμό.

The growth of non-traditional markets in Europe, Asia and Central America will require increased focus on cultural studies and the development of competencies in various foreign languages. The increased focus on data-driven policies to better understand the emerging needs of markets, to analyze trends and to predict future patterns means that tourism development strategy must increasingly emphasize research-based skills. The evolving tourism market will require modern managerial skills that can drive performance improvements in the sector by raising productivity through better staff planning and scheduling, employing new technology and improving employee motivation, thereby reducing staff turnover. Most importantly , we must equip our citizens with the competitive business management and marketing skills that are required to operate successful tourism enterprises in this globalized era.

In the current dispensation, the hospitality sector has to contend with negative perceptions of low wages and the lack of career opportunities beyond entry-level jobs. Studies have found that many university students have a peripheral view of tourism. There is oftentimes scarce information and misconceptions about the skills required as well as the opportunities for career development. National governments must take a lead in developing a long-term workforce development strategy. Ideally, such a strategy would be developed within the broader context of improving the industry’s competitiveness and sustainability, since the increasing demand for skilled labor will continue to present a major challenge in all countries. It is highly recommended that strategies and their implementation should be carried out with the private and education sectors and embrace agreed-upon commitments from the industry.

Απαιτείται ένα ισχυρό θεσμικό πλαίσιο για τον καθορισμό των πολιτικών και προγραμμάτων εκπαίδευσης και κατάρτισης που θα υποστηρίξουν μια πιο ελκυστική αγορά εργασίας και επιχειρηματικό περιβάλλον στον τουρισμό που θα επιτρέψει στη βιομηχανία να διατηρήσει ένα επαρκές και υψηλής ειδίκευσης εργατικό δυναμικό και ως εκ τούτου να υποστηρίξει την αύξηση της παραγωγικότητας στο η βιομηχανία. Η άποψή μου είναι ότι ενώ τα τυπικά προσόντα δεν απαιτούνται πάντα στον τουρισμό, η ύπαρξή τους και μια ευρέως διαθέσιμη ευκαιρία για απόκτηση προσόντων και ανάπτυξη ικανοτήτων στον τουρισμό μπορεί να συμβάλει στην αύξηση του κύρους του επαγγέλματος και του τομέα γενικά.

A study by the WTTC revealed that Travel & Tourism’s human capital challenges are significantly higher than those faced in other sectors with most countries in study projecting to face a talent ‘deficit’ or ‘shortage’ in Travel & Tourism over the next ten years. Talent development will also prevent many high-skilled positions from being filled by migrant workers. Both public and private sector are thus encouraged to act now to address the anticipated talent shortage.

Δεδομένης της ισχυρής φύσης του τουριστικού χαρτοφυλακίου της UWI που επεκτάθηκε πρόσφατα με την πρόσφατη έναρξη του πρώτου Παγκόσμιου Κέντρου Ανθεκτικότητας και Διαχείρισης Κρίσεων στην περιοχή, εδώ στο UWI, αλλαγές στον τουριστικό χώρο, νέες τεχνολογίες διδασκαλίας, η συνεχώς διαφοροποιημένη φύση του τουρισμού, ήρθε η ώρα για το UWI να ξαναπροσδιορίσει το τουριστικό του χαρτοφυλάκιο και να ενοποιήσει τα προγράμματα, τα μαθήματα, τα ινστιτούτα, τα κέντρα κ.λπ. κάτω από μια στέγη εδώ σε μια από τη Μέκκα τουρισμού της Καραϊβικής (Montego Bay) με την ίδρυση σχολής ή σχολής τουρισμού .

Indeed, UWIs global recognition as a powerful intellectual institution will position the UWI to make an even more substantive contribution to the development of the region through such a Faculty or School. Certainly, this effort would have my support, and, although I cannot speak for my Caribbean counterparts, I am more than certain it would also have the support of the government of the region. More specifically, in keeping with the mandate of the administration that I am apart of, I reiterate my commitment to promoting a sustainable tourism product that advances the well-being of local communities and that incorporates more local talent in the delivery of tourism services.