How do you think COVID-19 will change the skills needed in the tourism and hospitality industry?
JS: Resilience, safety management, sanitation and innovation have all been necessary skills during COVID-19. In my business communication subject, the students are conducting research on the employability skills necessary for the tourism industry. They are analysing current job descriptions to determine the skills that employers are looking for in the industry. The skills that were identified by the industry as most important were communication, teamwork, problem solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organising, self-management, learning, technology, leadership and customer service.
DT: Creativity, analytical skills, critical thinking, risk management, long-term planning will all be required in the future. Tourism has the incredible ability to rebound, reinvent itself and manage crises. However, this requires the ability to identify opportunities, continuously innovate and be resilient. There is a need to upskill, to know about the latest world trends, and to have the management knowledge, while maintaining great customer service skills and ensuring health and safety of customers.
NG: Adaptability and safety management within the industry will be key, along with management skills to ensure that the rebound of markets at the right time is leveraged to their full potential. Sustainable and ethical tourism will be a big focus for industry and the new tourism will focus on meaningful, respectful and sustainable practices, particularly after this time of re-set.
Janice and Denis, how can the research that you and your students are working on help guide the recovery of tourism in our region?
JS: COVID-19 has changed the landscape of the Tourism, Hospitality and Events Industry Worldwide. I am involved in a collaborative research grant with academics at JCU Australia and JCU Singapore to determine if employability skills needed in the tourism, hospitality and events industry in Australia and Singapore have changed since the Pre-COVID Era. We are also preparing our students to contribute to the current challenges in the industry by adding the COVID-19 Sanitation Certification, Hygiene, and the Responsible Service of Alcohol as part of our Professional Practice Minor in the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events Degree.
DT: I am currently working on a research looking into the experience of quarantined hotel guests. Being in isolation is both a physical and psychological challenge. We aim to understand the experiences of hotel guests quarantined upon arrival to their home countries and provide recommendations to hotel managers on how these situations can be handled better. COVID-19 has also been a major topic in our subjects. We discuss it in class, and it is one of the topics for their assignments. Students are eager to learn about crisis management and resilience techniques.