Job ticket

Tourism cul­tural and eco­nomic force in prov­ince

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE - BAR­BARA BOWES

AC­CORD­ING to Travel Man­i­toba, our prov­ince is on a roll. The pro­vin­cial tourism mar­ket­ing agency sug­gests we need to shout from the rooftops that it’s “Man­i­toba Time,” and I agree. Man­i­toba has so much to of­fer our cit­i­zens as well as busi­ness vis­i­tors and tourists. Just look around; we have the lux­ury of beau­ti­ful parks and glis­ten­ing blue lakes nearby, with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for fun and ad­ven­ture or just plain re­lax­ation.

We are also known for our vi­brant arts and cul­tural in­dus­tries and are home to the world fa­mous Royal Win­nipeg Bal­let. Our sports in­dus­tries have also been re­cently re­ju­ve­nated with the re­turn of the well loved Win­nipeg Jets. Not only that, we of­fer a thriv­ing mul­ti­cul­tural pop­u­la­tion whose mem­bers are known for their vis­i­tor friendly per­son­al­i­ties.

With the May long week­end re­cently passed, I hope that peo­ple had an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore all of the great ac­tiv­i­ties our prov­ince has to of­fer. At the same time, the Vic­to­ria Day hol­i­day is also of­ten known as the an­nual launch of the tourist sea­son. For those who are not aware, tourists spend ap­prox­i­mately $1.2 bil­lion in our prov­ince ev­ery year and this is ex­pected to grow at a steady rate over the next few years.

For in­stance, the Cana­dian Mu­seum for Hu­man Rights along with our al­ready fa­mous Assini­boine Park Zoo, Churchill po­lar bear ex­cur­sions and Rid­ing Moun­tain Na­tional Park, and new re­tail con­struc­tion such as the Win­nipeg IKEA store are an­tic­i­pated to at­tract an in­creas­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors. And with Tourism Man­i­toba re­port­ing that the cur­rent av­er­age ho­tel oc­cu­pancy rates out-per­form the na­tional av­er­age, I’m sure that some of our fu­ture vis­i­tors will face a chal­lenge in get­ting a room at the inn.

Tourism is in­deed a crit­i­cal eco­nomic driver for job and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Tourism is di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for the cre­ation of ap­prox­i­mately 4,600 busi­nesses through­out Man­i­toba, which in turn trans­lates into ap­prox­i­mately 17,000 di­rect tourism jobs. Many of these jobs are found in tourism and travel ser­vice agen­cies, ho­tel and accommodation busi­nesses, restau­rants, food and bev­er­age ven­dors, parks, spa, re­sort and event fa­cil­i­ties, gam­ing, cruise lines and leisure trans­porta­tion or re­cre­ation com­pa­nies and/ or sport venues. Typ­i­cal oc­cu­pa­tions con­sist of op­er­a­tions pro­fes­sion­als, cus­tomer ser­vice agents, event plan­ners, fa­cil­ity main­te­nance, kitchen work­ers, bar­tenders, and house­keep­ers as well as those in man­age­ment, hu­man re­sources, fi­nance and mar­ket­ing.

While fed­eral Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jim Fla­herty touts “there is no such thing as a bad job”, it’s well known the tourism in­dus­try has long suf­fered from a “bad job” im­age. Over the years, this has caused sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges for busi­ness own­ers in find­ing qual­ity front­line work­ers, es­pe­cially for evening and week­end shifts.

One strat­egy to over­com­ing the chal­lenge of that im­age is to in­crease the level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism in or­der to at­tract can­di­dates to the in­dus­try who are in­ter­ested in a ca­reer rather than sim­ply a “pass-through” job. This strat­egy has re­sulted in an in­creased num­ber of diploma and de­gree pro­grams in hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism, most of which also fo­cus a good deal of at­ten­tion on pro­fes­sion­al­ism and per­sonal pride in their ca­reer.

At the same time, the Man­i­toba Tourism Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil (MTEC) led by CEO Shan­non Fontaine is also heav­ily in­volved in help­ing hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als to in­crease and value a sense of pro­fes­sion­al­ism, work safely and to ex­hibit pride in ev­ery­thing they do. MTEC was es­tab­lished 23 years ago and has trained and cer­ti­fied thou­sands of in­di­vid­u­als. In 2011, for in­stance, MTEC trained over 10,000 in­di­vid­u­als both through class­room and on­line learn­ing.

The “busi­ness builders” train­ing se­ries is a group of eight mod­ules di­rected at busi­ness own­ers who are con­sid­ered new or an emerg­ing small busi­ness. The pro­gram guides own­ers through the prac­ti­cal steps of busi­ness plan­ning, prod­uct and ser­vice de­vel­op­ment, sales and mar­ket­ing, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, ne­go­ti­a­tion and hu­man re­sources.

MTEC also of­fers and fa­cil­i­tates the na­tion­ally rec­og­nized emerit cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram which trains in­di­vid­u­als and cer­ti­fies them in a va­ri­ety of hos­pi­tal­ity oc­cu­pa­tions based on na­tional oc­cu­pa­tional stan­dards. These na­tional stan­dards also as­sist em­ploy­ers to es­tab­lish and main­tain a high level of lo­cal ser­vice stan­dards. In ad­di­tion, the emerit pro­gram of­fers a hu­man re­source toolkit that con­tains a set of cus­tom­iz­a­ble tools to help se­lect, re­cruit, hire, train, coach, and man­age em­ploy­ees ef­fec­tively.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.