The need to analyse ways and means to encourage Mauritians to take employment in the tourism and hospitality sector was highlighted, on yesterday, by the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection and Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Mr Soodesh Callichurn, during a workshop organised in Ebène in the context of World Tourism Day 2022, observed annually on 27 September. The theme retained this year is “Rethinking Tourism”.
The workshop, organised by the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development (MITD) Ecole Hôtelière Sir Gaëtan Duval, aims at bringing together stakeholders of the tourism and hospitality sector to address the Human Resource challenges within the sector.
Minister Callichurn dwelt on Government’s concerted efforts to train people and encourage employers to recruit in the tourism and hospitality sector. To that end, he enumerated several budgetary measures. They include: the increase in the monthly stipend paid to apprentices from Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000; and the introduction of “Prime à L’Emploi Scheme” with the provision of a monthly prime of up to Rs 15,000 for the first year of employment of 10,000 youths aged between 18 and 35 years and women aged up to 50 years. “We are again extending assistance to all MITD trainees as they will not even have to pay their exam fees”, he said.
Following worldwide vaccination campaigns and rebound in international travel, he pointed out that the industry has started to recover while emphasising that tourist arrivals in Mauritius are forecasted to attain pre-pandemic levels soon. However, he deplored that the sector reportedly lost about 4,500 jobs during the two years of the pandemic. “There is a challenging situation in our tourism and hospitality industry and the post pandemic recovery can be jeopardised with the shortage of workers with the right skills”, he said.
The lack of interest among the youth in the sector was further highlighted by the Minister. He also indicated that the recommendations of both public and private sector will enable to attract, train, and retain human resources.
The Minister also spoke of the follow up of training of apprentices in collaboration with hotels which, he said, needs to be done in a more rigorous and professional way to avoid the high percentage of dropouts. Employers, he stated, should take a more active and thoughtful role in the workplace training rather than a passive role to attract more youth towards the sector in the long run and to allow them to make bright careers in the industry.