THE Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) on Thursday praised Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco for organizing the Department of Tourism (DOT)- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) “1st Philippine Tourism Job Fair”, making it easier for them to fill the vacancies left by the tourism workers who have shifted to other jobs at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PTAA President Michelle Taylan, in an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the PTAA’s “10th Emerging Outbound Destinations” and the 5th membership meeting at the Hotel Lucky Chinatown, said the tourism industry is now facing the challenge of looking for tourism workers after many tourism stakeholders were forced to stop operations due to the pandemic temporarily.
The DOT announced on Thursday that there are over 8,000 job vacancies available at the first government-led tourism job fair in Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Taylan said, “There has been strong signs of recovery since [a] large number of people are now traveling after a two-year pandemic” despite significant mounting economic and geopolitical challenges.
In preparation, she stressed they are in dire need of more workers because the organization does not only see “revenge travel” but also “revenge spending.”
The PTAA president explained many tourists nowadays do not mind spending much on their travel if it is for their safety.
According to the latest United Nations World Travel Organization-World Tourism Barometer, international tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded.
This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021, which showed that the sector had recovered almost half (46%) of pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
“Though it still far from the pre-pandemic figures, the number of tourist arrivals [is] very encouraging, and it clearly shows that the tourism industry is on the road to recovery and hopefully will reach the pre-pandemic levels of tourist arrivals in the near future,” Taylan said.
In the local travel scene, industry sources estimate that expected tourist arrivals for 2022 will be 1 million.
As of August 2022, that number has been breached, and a new projection of 1.4 million travelers has been set.
The PTAA also invited during the meeting officials of the Embassies of the United States, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt, who showcased new and untapped travel destinations in their respective countries.
Taylan said the PTAA is looking forward to partnering with more foreign governments and embassies in finding common ground to advance the tourism industry.