THE TOURISM and hospitality sector expects to outperform in terms of job growth in the next few years, outstripping the global average, industry officials said.

Rajah Travel Corp. (RTC) and its online tourism data platform Tourism Knowledge Center (TKC) issued the projection during the second edition of its Travel Talk Series, which discussed the state of tourism jobs amid the disruptions of new technology.

Chairman and President Aileen C. Clemente said that the Philippines will not be left behind in terms of jobs and expects work opportunities to enter a boom period.

“Global tourism is growing at 5.6% and the Philippines is growing at 7.65% in terms of tourist arrivals so we’re still ahead. In terms of jobs we’re still ahead on the average of the global tourism industry. We (also) have a higher share in the Philippines,” she said.

“Nothing can replicate tour guides,” she said. “We have to have different promotions for every destination so there is a constant process of thinking about how to make it attractive and how to give an experience to somebody.”

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the global travel industry accounted for $8.8 trillion or 10.4% of total GDP. It is considered one of the fastest-growing sectors behind the manufacturing industry. The WTC projects that 100 million jobs in the industry will be added globally in the next decade or 429 million jobs in total by 2029.

In the Philippines, Ms. Clemente said the tourism sector was responsible for 12.7% of GDP and 13.8% of the labor force in 2018.

TKC Executive Director Rolando T. Cañizal said that the industry is already seeing signs of encoraching technologies particularly with visitors demanding ever-newer services.

“In our travel and tourism industry, we are now seeing the great impact of technology… to develop new markets and at the same time, the rise of new travelers and tourists who are more technology-savvy and digitally oriented. In this regard, many businesses have started to adapt certain technological systems to better serve our guests and promote their products in the market,” he said.

TKC Review Committee and Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Dr. Andrew Tan Tourism Center Board of Advisor Member Maria Cherry Lyn S. Rodolfo said that like in other industries in which jobs in the tourism sector will also witness some loss, jobs in the industry will also evolve with the times.

“Jobs will not dissipate at one time. Yes, there will be some reduction of traditional jobs but these jobs will evolve,” she said.

While careers in sectors of the tourism industry such as travel agencies, hotels, and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) will still stay for the meantime, newer job expertise will need to be added to their roles because of more travel innovation.

Andy Michaels Lim, Managing Director of Amadeus IT Group, said that humans will still play a crucial role to the tourism industry even with the technological innovation.

“Technology doesn’t work without people,” he said, adding new roles that will be required in the travel industry will be digital marketer/strategist; partnerships manager; UX/UI Programmer; Web/graphic designer; and content strategist.

Even with new roles, some skills will remain irreplaceable especially if they are soft skills. Ms. Clemente said, “Technical skills we have mastered a lot of that but we need to concentrate on soft skills like analytical thinking, critical thinking, empathy, integrity, stewardship. These are things that are needed especially in the services industry.” — Gillian M. Cortez