The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are putting together a two-day job fair in Cagayan de Oro City, targeting skilled workers in the tourism sector.
The event, set on March 30-31, is being organized in anticipation of a revitalized tourism industry in Region 10.
DOLE Region 10 director Albert Gutib said the tourism sector was severely affected by the COVID pandemic, and is now slowly recovering.
“For 2022, data showed that there are 16 tourism establishments and 379 workers affected due to the implementation of the flexible work scheme. This is the reduced number of work days in a week or the reduced number of work hours in a day. Some workers will just work for 3 days,” Gutib said.
Gutib added that 72 establishments temporarily closed, affecting more than 1,000 employees.
“There are also 29 establishments that terminated 361 workers to prevent further losses,” Gutib said.
Gutib said that most of those who practice flexible work schemes are establishments based in Cagayan de Oro city.
DOT region 10 Director Marie Elaine S. Unchuan said during the height of the pandemic, they have listed some 4,500 tourism industry workers, including informal workers like boatmen, transport operators, and tourism-rich communities that were affected.
“In the tourism industry in 2023, we were exceeding the 2019 targets, and we really want to campaign for Mindanao tourism,” Unchuan said.
In the first quarter of 2019, there are 484,141 tourists in the region with domestic tourists reached 477,455, comprising 98 percent of the total arrivals.
Unchuan added that there are also a lot of businesses that open up now, coffee shops, restaurants, and other shops that are related to tourism.
Unchuan said that many of those who lost their jobs during the pandemic could be working overseas now.
“Some of those affected by job loss opted to work overseas as opportunities were ripe for them to apply,” Unchuan said.
Unchuan added that some employers may also have to deal with getting quality skilled workers, especially those who have experience working abroad.
“Experience in the Tourism industry, I think that would be very valuable, I’m not sure though if they can match the offer abroad,” Unchuan said.
“But off course, if they are looking for quality workers, we can point them in that direction. I think the employers will value that,” Unchuan said.
“A lot of employers are having a hard time trying to hire people with skills, so now we have one venue and two days to be able to put out those opportunities and match them with prospective employers,” Unchuan said.
Putting employers in the tourism industry in one place so that they (jobseekers) can readily access available jobs.
Unchuan said that for the service side of the industry, the DOT is embarking on a training program for tourism students on the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence where they target to train 6 thousand workers per region.
“Filipino Brand of Service Excellence is a basic frontline training, where can show value formation,” Unchuan said.
Unchuan said that post-pandemic strategies include the development of local tourism promotions. “Because of that, we are promoting our eight tourism circuits across Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, and Bukidnon,” Unchuan said.
“We are also promoting community-based destinations like in Bukidnon where tourists can experience the culture, the tribes for experiential tourism,” Unchuan said.
Unchuan added that they are putting out promotions on social media as many young travelers are really going out there.
DOT-10 is expecting that thousands of job seekers are expected to flock to Cagayan de Oro to the job fair for a chance at employment in the tourism industry. Positions in the following fields: administration, accounting, marketing, human resource, front office, support staff, MICE operators, food and beverages, kitchen or food production, and housekeeping will be available to qualified job seekers.