THE Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to hold together a tourism job fair program entitled “Trabaho, Turismo, Asenso! National Tourism Jobs Fair” September 22 to 24.
Tourism Secretary-designate Christina Garcia Frasco expressed hope this job fair will be able to spark the revival of the tourism industry, as many establishments are still in dire need of manpower. The two-year pandemic forced many hotels, travel agencies, and tour operators to let go of their workers who are now into other fields or have set up their own businesses.
“We are prioritizing the provision of employment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector in response to the severe losses in income and livelihood due to the pandemic, and the present shortage of workforce in the tourism industry,” said the DOT chief. “The Trabaho, Turismo, Asenso Job Fairs will help our fellow Filipinos find jobs while helping the accommodation and services sector address workforce shortages, resulting in the continued recovery of the tourism industry as a whole,” she added.
Based on a survey conducted by DOT and DOLE, close to 2,000 job vacancies need to be filled, but Garcia Frasco told reporters this was an “ongoing survey,” so more vacancies could be registered going forward. Of the vacancies so far, the survey showed the bulk was in the National Capital Region, Region 7 (Central Visayas), and Region 11 (Davao).
Pandemic forced firings
In late 2020, the DOT estimated about 5 million jobs lost in the tourism sector, as the pandemic forced governments around the world, including the Philippines, to close their borders. As per Labor Secretary-designate Bienvenido Laguesma, over 12,000 workers in the accommodations sector, were displaced as of January 2022.
“Through this forged partnership with the DOT, we are optimistic that more targeted skills and jobs will be linked. Workers will make their way back again in the labor market…Taking advantage of technology platforms, we are guaranteeing that this avenue of linking jobseekers and employeers are accessible to the tourism sector labor force nationwide and shall accelerate their job search an eventual placement,” said the DOLE executive.
The National Tourism Job Fair will be launched during the Hotels Supplier Show on September 22 to 24 at the SMX Convention Center Manila in Pasay. It will be a multi-month campaign and will conclude in May 2023 to coincide with the 50th Founding Anniversary of the DOT. Global-Link MP, the organizer of the Hotels Supplier Show, has offered 50 free booths for the job fair program. Among the other initial job fair locations include Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
The MOU was signed between Garcia Frasco and Laguesma at Conrad Manila in Pasay City.
Under the MOU, the DOT through its regional offices will be coordinating with their counterpart DOLE regional or field offices, as well as the Public Employment Service Offices (Peso) in local government units for the scheduling of job fairs; collect relevant job posting information from participating establishments; ensure the credibility of all participating would-be employers; and monitor the job fair reportorial requirements of participating establishments.
The DOLE, for its part, shall assist the DOT in the latter’s job fairs; monitor and supervise these DOT job fairs as organized by concerned Pesos, pursuant to applicable DOLE guidelines; and screen the requirements of all participating entities, among others.
Garcia Frasco again made a pitch for overseas career opportunities in the hospitality industry, which will be made available to Filipinos, in a separate job fair in coordination with the Department of Migrant Workers and DOLE. Earlier, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn accepted Garcia Frasco’s offer to join the jobs fair in Manila so Thailand can hire more Filipino hotel workers.
“Providing tourism employment opportunities in the Philippines and abroad is important because this will help the thousands of Filipino workers and their families, who were displaced or repatriated because of the pandemic. For new graduates and others seeking a career in tourism, this will also open new doors for economic prosperity,” said the DOT official. “Overall, the goal is to balance the need for services of the accommodation sector with the needs for employment of tourism workers, that would lend stability to the tourism industry,” said Garcia Frasco.