|JITOA’s job fair
|Jobs are vital for a healthy economy and the same is true for the tourism sector in Jordan, said to be the most dynamic in the Kingdom.
With this in mind, Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA) will be holding a career forum this June to show the tourism sector is a growth industry that is in constant need of new blood.
“We at JITOA believe the career forum is a very innovative idea designed to bring employers in the tourism sector and those who are seeking to develop a career whether in the travel business, hotels or the catering industry,” said JITOA’s Executive Director, Ahmad Al-Bashiti.
But many different kinds of employers in the tourism sector are expected to participate in the coming event that will include tour operator offices, travel agencies, destination management companies, airlines, hotels and resorts, touristic projects, park management companies, clubs, restaurants, event management companies, car rental companies, universities and business companies.
This 2-day event is the first Annual Tourism and Hospitality Career Forum, designed to promote tourism as a “career choice” not only among school leavers and university students but in the labor market as a whole, and especially those thinking of switching employment and wanting to build a career in the different branches of the tourism sector.
“The career forum is in line with Jordan’s National Tourism Strategy drawn up in 2004 and implemented between 2005 and 2010,” added Bashiti, whose association represents tour operators who specialize in bringing international visitors to the country.
The tourism sector is the second largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product, with a 2006 contribution of over 10 percent and around $1.62 billion in the first 11 months of that year, and growth is expected to continue because of the increasing investments in touristic cities such as Aqaba.
“A career forum is needed to cope with the fact that today Jordan has what international experts term ‘Travel and Tourism Economy’ with its different related sectors of hotels, restaurants and transport plus its ancillary industries to cope with issues like catering, and food manufacture,” Bashiti pointed out.
Estimates vary but there is big expansion. According to World Trade Organization, the “T&T Economy” generated around 217,000 jobs in Jordan in 2005, that’s 14 percent of total employment or 1 out of 6.8 jobs. It is estimated by 2015 the total jobs in the “T&T economy” would be 258,671 or 1 in every 7.5 jobs.
In terms of direct employment, 50,000 more jobs are expected to be generated by 2010, and the industry is in current need of 5,000 jobs right across the sector. These include tour operators, travel and sales executives, executive staff, clerks, waiters, chefs, housekeepers, night staff and bell-boys.
“We want potential job-seekers to come and meet the employers directly and see what the industry has in store for them, we want them to come and break the ice and forget about the old-fashioned way of thinking that “a job in tourism is not-for-me mentality” which is slowly changing among Jordanians; but that change needs to be more rapid,” Bashiti continued.
The forum’s concept will center on “Explore a new future and there is a theme idea of a walk in the Kingdom’s touristic sites, with the venue’s floor plan designed as the map of Jordan and booths located in different zones representing sites such as Amman, Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Ajloun, Jerash and Dead Sea.
“We want to give job-seekers the right feel that tourism is not only in Amman but it is for the whole of Jordan, and jobs in the touristic sector are everywhere, and that workers must be prepared to move elsewhere, Bashiti pointed out.
The career forum is also an awareness arena. There will be seminars and workshops with special guests from the tourism industry to talk about the characteristics of travel and tourism in the new millennium. While one topic tackles the opportunities in tourism, another is about the importance of gaining professional certification and what that means to your career; a final seminar will be on the investment potential in the Jordanian tourism sector.