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The industry has long struggled to attract top talent. The travel and tourism industry directly and indirectly supported 330 million jobs, or one in ten worldwide on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. During the five years prior to 2019, the industry accounted for one in every four new jobs created (for every 30 new tourists traveling to a destination, it is estimated that one new job is created). In addition, the travel and tourism industry normally employs a relatively greater proportion of women than other sectors, and offers employment opportunities for many people entering the labour market for the first time, according to a report published by the World Tourism Organization and the International Labour Organization. COVID-19 has resulted in a situation where as many as 120 million tourism-related jobs could disappear, according to the UNWTO - as the industry is not expected to rebound until 2022. The impact of these job losses is falling disproportionately on the women who make up the bulk of the mainly low-skilled tourism workforce on small island developing states, according to a report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Historically, the travel and tourism industry has had difficulty attracting top talent for technical and managerial positions. The World Travel & Tourism Council estimated in its 2015 Global Talent Trends and Issues report that talent gaps and deficiencies in the industry could cost the global economy nearly 14 million jobs and $610 billion in GDP between 2014 and 2024, focused primarily on China, France, Italy, Russia, and the US. A 2019 report published by Deloitte described the travel industry’s talent shortage as “incredible”; it pointed to a total number of open positions in hospitality that had risen from roughly 353,000 in the midst of the Great Recession to more than 1.1 million by 2018. The report noted that in the airline industry, specifically, crew shortages had restricted route expansion, and some small, regional carriers were ceasing operations due to pilot shortages. In order to best address this challenge as the global economy rebuilds post-pandemic, the private sector needs to collaborate more closely with the public sector, work on updating relevant university and training programmes, and better keep up with market needs and technological advancements.

The Travel industry has long struggled to attract top talent

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