TRAVEL and tourism employers in Asia must put their heads together to see how they can improve public perception of the industry in order to attract the best talent and skill sets, said panellists at the Asian Travel Tourism Industry Dialogue: Developing Human Capital Talent Management.
As a prelude to travel and tourism week TravelRave 2014, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) kickstarted this year’s multi-city media roundtable series with a panel discussion in Singapore that centred on how to attract more talent to join the industry. The session was moderated by Caroline Boey, senior correspondent-China/special projects, TTG Asia Media.
Solutions mooted included raising awareness of industry success stories, the range of opportunities in tourism and the international exposure the industry offers.
Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive of STB, commented: “While the job opportunities within the tourism industry are phenomenal, we are competing with other sectors for talent. The competition and war for talent is stiff. We need to equip ourselves to make sure that we are getting the best talent, the best skillsets to join our industry.
“As we look at consumption patterns, the reality is that Millennials are going to consume differently. If we want to be relevant to them, I hope we are bringing in young talent into the industry and using the talent to design experiences for the future.”
SACEOS president, Janet Tan-Collis, shared that SACEOS has been developing internationally recognised courses to meet the needs of the next generation. “Let the young people come in and decide where they can make the change,” she urged.
Meanwhile, panellists also highlighted the need to ensure middle management posseses the right set of skills to sustain the industry.
Said Marc Dardenne, CEO of Patina Hotels and Resorts: “My recommendation is for Singaporean managers to travel and get experience out of Singapore. That is how you really learn – by going through challenging situations. In our profession, it is all about having international experience, understanding different customers, being open minded. You learn this when you go out of your comfort zone.”
Agreeing with Dardenne, Margaret Heng, executive director of the Singapore Hotel Association and CEO of SHATEC, commented: “The strongest link within the organisation to retain talent is the middle management. Middle managers play an important role in creating an environment to encourage retention.”
Yesterday’s media roundtable was the first in a series to be held around the region. The next session will take place in Bengaluru on July 10, followed by Beijing on July 21, Shanghai on July 23, and ends in Jakarta on August 26.
TravelRave 2014 will be held from October 27 to 31.
Changing the perception of travel and tourism key to attracting new blood