May 5, 2020

Time to #BuildBackBetter the tourism sector to create more and better jobs?

One new job in tourism creates one and a half indirect jobs, but COVID-19 has put a halt to that.

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, the tourism sector has suddenly come to a halt - putting millions at risk of losing their jobs and sliding into poverty.

Tourism is an important sector in many developing countries. Globally, it has been the highest generator of new employment and its role was expected to grow in importance with increases in tourism numbers and spending foreseen in the next 10 years.

Positive growth in tourism has positive knock-on effects in supporting sectors such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail, handicrafts, and financial services. One new job in tourism creates one and a half indirect jobs.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the COVID crisis could cause the international tourism economy to contract by between 45 and 70 per cent, depending on the duration of the crisis and the speed of the sector’s recovery.

At a time where private sector, governments and development partners are trying to come up with a coherent response to put the sector back on its feet, there is a need to reflect on the structural challenges that inhibited the sector’s capacity to create quality and resilient jobs before the pandemic.

Accelerating tourism’s impact on jobs takes stock from seven ILO Lab tourism market systems analyses to understand the common challenges and opportunities in tourism in a wide array of contexts.

This brief highlights the importance of using market system analysis to unpack key supporting functions such as sector coordination, market information, product development and skills development - constraints that limit just about every tourism market.

Market information and sector coordination are also critical in helping develop and highlight a destination’s best assets to create more value for the businesses and workers within it.

The analyses were carried out before the pandemic, but its insights are particularly relevant as they provide concrete recommendations on how projects can position themselves to drive the most change and #BuildBackBetter the tourism sector.

Interested in advancing knowledge or improving job quality and resilience in the tourism sector? Reach out to us to see if we can find a way to work together to create more and better jobs.

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