Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 19 May 2013 (ME NewsWire): Key industry professionals, government officials and academics will gather this week to discuss the existing and emerging skills gaps within the UAE's tourism and hospitality industry.
The discussion, facilitated by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), will see participants debate the findings of a Workforce Planning Study that has identified a number of skills gaps within the burgeoning sector that currently account for one in nine jobs .
Newly released figures from the Workforce Planning Study have revealed that some corporates are having difficulty finding suitable candidates for junior positions within the industry.
Other key findings include:
Overall, Customer Relationship Management, Event Management, and Food & Beverage Management skills are the most in demand in the industry
Hotel Management, Facilities Management and Customer Relationship Management skills are lacking in senior level employees
Facilities, Food & Beverage and Events Management skills are lacking in mid-level employees
Entry-level employees lacked Customer Relationship Management skills. Additionally, there is a growing demand for Hotel management skills for the entry-level positions
Within the Levant region, students favour a degree in Tourism and Hospitality. However, within the GCC and sub-continent specifically, Banking, Finance and IT remain the top choice for students
The study offers up some critical recommendations about how the UAE could address the skills gaps arising from the sector's growth, such as bridging the gap between industry and academia.
Dr.AyoubKazim, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village said: “More than 383,000 jobs were supported by the travel and tourism industry last year, and that number is expected to grow by a further 2.6% this year . The demand for skilled workers has never been higher and we feel it is our role, as a home for the region's education and training institutes, to facilitate a more coordinated approach between academia and industry.
“The findings of the study will enable our academic partners and training institutes to tailor their education offerings to the demands of local industry. This is a smart approach to education – and one that ties back to the government's wider vision of developing a knowledge-based economy.”
The DIAC roundtable event will take place on 15th May at the Dubai Knowledge Village Conference Centre from 9 - 11am. Attendees will include Jumeirah Group, Emirates Academy, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Emaar Hospitality Group, Alpha Tours, National Institute of Vocational Education, International Centre for Culinary Arts, Higher Colleges of Technologyand DIAC academic partners.
The roundtable discussion coincides with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's recent approval of ‘Tourism Vision 2020' – a roadmap that has been set out to treble the annual contribution made by tourism to the emirate's economy by 2020.
According to the GCC Hospitality Industry Report 2012 (Alpen Capital), the hospitality market in the UAE is forecast to grow at an average rate of 8.1% in the next four years, to US$28.3bn.
Moreover, a new study from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) states that the travel and tourism industry contributed 14 per cent to the UAE economy in 2012 - well above the global trend of 9 per cent. Last year, AED193.6bn ($52.7bn) of the UAE's GDP came from the industry and that contribution is expected to rise by 3.2 per cent by the end of this year.