Seychelles has partnered with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to identify skills needs and shortages in the tourism industry in order to determine appropriate actions needed to close existing gaps.
As part of the project, UNWTO is helping one of its member states to assess the situation in the industry and once completed an action plan will be drawn up in order to tackle the issue.
The first step is a rapid assessment done on Thursday by a UNWTO consultant, Lisa Gordon-Davis.
A group of various players in the industry attended the meeting at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) in which they were encouraged not to sugarcoat anything, as their frankness would be of great help to the authorities.
The director for human resources development in the Department of Tourism, Diana Quatre, told reporters that “the exercise was very important as it will provide the authorities with data and information of the human resources situation in the field.”
The move to evaluate the human resources needs in the industry is part of the new tourism strategy for 2023-2026.
She said that the department’s aim is “to grow the demand for a higher value and lower impact tourism; enhance, diversity and differentiate tourism products, and facilitate the delivery of a high-performing tourism workforce.”
Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Among the industry players who attended the meeting were owners from self-catering establishments as well as trainers in hotels.
“We want the input of all the players so that we can draft an action plan that is reflective of the actual situation,” said Quatre.
She added that “we currently have people who have commented in the past that there are many expatriates working at management level in the sector, with this project, we will be able to have confirmed reliable figures on whether that is the case.”
Gordon-Davis explained that once she has established the industry’s demands as compared to its supply, she will then be able to devise the action plan aimed at providing the labour force with the right skillset to cater to international demands.
Quatre said that there have already been meetings with the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) and there will be future meetings on Praslin and La Digue to gather as much information as possible.
This will allow the authorities to ensure that “training and capacity building in the Seychelles tourism sector be in line with international best practices and standards,” she added.
Quatre also explained that while the framework of how to employ personnel in the tourism sector will be in place, the authorities are still in discussions as to how to enforce it.
“This is why we are meeting all our partners, including those who do not immediately seem like they are concerned with tourism, such as the Attorney General’s office and representatives from schools. We will need everyone’s input,” she added.
Gordon-Davis will be in the country for six weeks to hold consultative meetings with the various partners before proceeding to the next step of the project.