GEORGE TOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS — Some tourism stakeholders are pushing for more Caymanians to embrace careers in hospitality as the country gears up to restart its tourism industry as early as next month.
There is some debate over whether hospitality jobs are typically held by expatriates on the island, but Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan expressed a desire to see more locals step up to the plate.
“My colleagues in Cabinet and I are committed to ensuring that Caymanians are given the opportunity to fill the roles vacated by expatriate workers who have returned home due to the pandemic,” he said.
“Our people are our greatest asset and increasing the number of Caymanians in the tourism and hospitality industry would provide a more authentic Caymanian experience, which visitors want and expect while vacationing in these islands.”
Bryan added: “The COVID pandemic has presented us with a timely opportunity to correct the imbalance that has existed for too long within our tourism workforce.
“Integrating more Caymanians into the vacant roles is a win-win situation that will add more authenticity to our tourism product, while providing Caymanians with the ability to be gainfully employed and able to support themselves and their families.”
The latest Labour Force Survey Report, issued in November 2020, indicated that 48.4 percent of the labour force was Caymanian while a comparative 43.6 percent was non-Caymanian. But with the changing economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister for Labour Chris Saunders said the government is seeking to make the tourism industry “a more attractive career” for locals.
“The ultimate goal is to see a substantially higher percentage of Caymanians included in the tourism workforce, where they are able to derive a far more direct and quantitative improvement to the quality of their lives,” Saunders said.
Recruitment of Caymanians into the hospitality sector ahead of the country’s planned tourism restart has already begun, according to Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) President Marc Langevin.
“When we’re talking about remobilization and we’re talking about Caymanian recruitment, we have been very active, and very proactive, actually, with a very nice group of professional people that work currently in the government and in collaboration with the private sector,” Langevin said, hinting that CITA would “soon” be able to disclose further details about “remobilization and ensuring that Caymanians come first”.
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