Chubb: The tourism sector will return to pre-pandemic employment levels

Chubb: The tourism sector will return to pre-pandemic employment levels

SARAJEVO, October 31 (FENA) – Director of the USAID Mission to BiH Courtney Chubb predicts that the tourism and hospitality sectors will return to the level of employment from 2019 by the end of 2023, which is about 30,400 employees, while 6,100 will not return to tourism careers.

She expects that the number of employees in tourism will increase by 12,400 from 2024 to 2027, because hotels will increase their capacity, and companies in the field of tourism will increase the volume of services and products and improve them.

“This will essentially result in a total demand for human capital of 18,500 jobs,” Chubb said in an interview with FENA.

Chubb said that these are the results of the Analysis and Forecast of Human Capital Needs conducted by USAID Tourism. The document, she added, was based on a number of official sources of information, extensive consultations with sector representatives, and research on best international practices, all with the aim of anticipating the human capital Bosnia and Herzegovina needs in the next seven years and assessing the sector’s current needs.

“USAID’s Sustainable Tourism Development Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina has completed the first of five years and has launched about 40 activities so far,” said Chubb, adding that they have started responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing Safe Travels Stamp for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is awarded by the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) in order to restore the trust of passengers in the destination.

She explained that they currently support the development of the tourism workforce through the reform of university programs in line with the UN World Tourism Organization’s system of excellence, and that they work on vocational education in schools, while previously launching the online Tourism Academy (VIDEO).

“In order to improve the international perception of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a tourist destination, we supported BiH’s participation in important international tourist events, and we are currently working on expanding the international network of travel agents through promoting BiH in key markets in Europe and the Middle East,” she explained.

Chubb adds that they have also started the development of the Herzegovina Wine Road, as well as assisting both entities in creating the Tourism Development Strategy 2021-2027.

She reminded that the first USAID Tourism initiative was the formulation of COVID-19 Guidelines and Protocols for Health Care from COVID 19 in Tourism in cooperation with BiH health and tourism institutions, and their adaptation to best international practices applied by world leaders in the sector such as World Health organizations, the Cleveland Clinic, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and the WTTC.

“This has enabled BiH to acquire the Safe Travels Stamp awarded by the WTTC. The goal is to build the trust of the international market in BiH as a safe travel destination and to promote best practices among employees in order to protect them, their families and their clients,” she said.

Speaking about the education system in BiH, she pointed out that according to USAID, there is a general need for educational institutions to better prepare their students for the realities of the globalized market and changes in labor requirements through analysis of existing curricula based on sector needs and international best practices.

“University and school curricula should be adjusted and strengthened in order to improve students’ communication skills, attitude towards guests and foreign languages, primarily English,” she said.

In order to provide an answer to the needs of the tourism sector, she emphasizes the need to adopt a strategic plan that would lead to increased competitiveness of educational programs and results.