Sparked by the need to assist Caribbean tourism industry workers impacted by last fall’s hurricanes, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has created a “jobs bank” to match candidates with tourism-related employment opportunities.
The jobs bank, which was launched last month, has already assisted a number of individuals from hurricane impacted destinations find new employment opportunities in the region and the United States. The initiative is made possible by the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, a partnership between CHTA and the Tourism Cares organization.
CHTA’s CEO and Director General Frank Comito explained the new platform is open to all CHTA member hotel industry professionals at all levels across the hospitality sector. While the focus is on assisting the temporarily or permanently unemployed from the affected destinations, it is a Caribbean-wide initiative.
“While the jobs bank has been created to serve an immediate and urgent need, our intention is for it to become the permanent go-to resource for career opportunities at every level in Caribbean hospitality – from line cook to general manager,” stated Comito as he urged hotels throughout the region and elsewhere to post vacancies.
He explained that in the near term it is CHTA’s hope that those displaced employees from the region’s six destinations most impacted by the hurricanes will be able to take advantage of the time to keep their skills fresh and that employers will utilize the service. “We are confident that those employers, who contract with an impacted employee for the season or while their home hotel is under refurbishment, will realize tremendous value in their expertise while helping to mitigate the hardship employees are experiencing.”
Comito predicted that in the not too distant future, destinations in the region that were impacted by the recent hurricanes will emerge with a new, fresh and exciting tourism product matched by a motivated, energized and highly professional workforce. He said CHTA, the local industry and the local hotel and tourism associations will roll out training initiatives in the months ahead to help sharpen the skills of Caribbean hospitality professionals.
The tourism chief affirmed that most of the Caribbean was not impacted by the recent hurricanes and is, in fact, experiencing a strong tourism season and outlook, providing an incentive for hoteliers to draw on qualified professionals from within the region.
CHTA continues to advocate for the unfettered movement of qualified tourism industry professionals throughout the entire region. Comito pointed to facilities in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States where nationals are able move and work freely, and in the U.S. territories where most residents of the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, for example, can work within each jurisdiction and the United States without a visa or work permit requirements.