The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is to conduct its first-ever regional skills audit to assess the competencies of the Caribbean tourism workforce. The main goal of the regional human resource development knowledge and skills audit is to help Caribbean tourism planners and policymakers better understand how to most effectively leverage human resource development for a more innovative and competitive industry.
CDB has approved a grant of nearly $125,000 from its special funds resources to help finance the project. The technical assistance grant came through the micro, small and medium enterprises unit of the bank.
“Given the tourism industry’s significant contribution to economic and social development in the region, it is of vital importance to undertake the skills audit, as it will provide insight and foresight on tourism workforce competencies, as well as skills gaps and imbalances in the tourism sector,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general, in a press statement.
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He added: “An audit of this kind is a necessary step in enhancing human resource development in Caribbean tourism, since there is a need to rationalize and streamline skills and knowledge development.”
The regional financial institution has supported other CTO projects in the past, including a grant in 2017 for a program to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in 10 CDB-borrowing member countries through the Hospitality Assured program. That same year, it also provided a grant to the CTO to implement a project to increase the Caribbean tourism sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.
The audit will provide data to assist planners, strategists, policymakers and tourism human resource managers to more effectively identify capacity-building needs and develop better targeted interventions. Among other objectives, the audit will seek to identify the specific leadership and workforce competencies required to meet the current and future needs of the region’s tourism sector and provide a detailed review of the critical skill sets and resources necessary for the development of a sustainable, high-performing Caribbean tourism workforce.
Data obtained from the audit is also expected to contribute to effective human resource planning for the tourism industry in the region by providing a framework for decision-making to guide the development and refinement of tourism education and training programs by academic and training institutions in order to reduce skills gaps and mismatches.