According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Travel & Tourism created over 231 million jobs worldwide in 2007, making it one of the world’s largest industry employers. Today, the Council announced that over the last year the industry accounted for more than 72 million jobs in China alone, putting China in pole position followed respectively by India, the United States and Japan.
Moreover, in 2007 China’s Travel & Tourism industry contributed 12.2 per cent of GDP and the industry’s economic activity generated over CNY 3,360 billion (US$439 billion), positioning China’s Travel & Tourism economy as the 4th largest in the world, after the United States, Japan and Germany. However Travel & Tourism is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.6 per cent over the next decade, climbing to 2nd position by 2017.
As a result of this positive growth, China faces increasing pressure on its Human Resources’ capacity. China’s greatest challenge will be to manage these projections; in order to meet the industry’s future demands, China will need to recruit, train, retain and develop millions of people over the next ten years.
Today, Travel & Tourism leaders and Human Resources experts gathered in Shanghai to discuss the issue of China’s employment development and how to reach its full economic potential.
WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten opened the discussion, stating that “China needs to focus its financial, human and intellectual resources on supporting, enabling, managing and directing its growth.” He continued “the Chinese Government must make a firm commitment to furthering employment opportunities in the tourism industry in China by exempting the industry from permanent residency requirements, so that people can be effectively mobilized and encouraged to stay in Travel & Tourism. This industry should be promoted to the younger generations as a highly regarded career opportunity and the English language should be made a requirement for all Travel & Tourism study programmes and newly hired employees.”
Representing WTTC’s most supportive Chinese Member - Beijing Tourism Group (BTG) - Liu Yi, BTG Vice President, spoke about how the tourism industry has become a new engine of economic growth for China. Highlighting the positive impact of the Beijing Olympics Mr Yi said “the Games will have a profound impact on the entire country, but in the long term the Chinese government will need to control the caliber of people working in tourism in order to ensure quality service for the extraordinary growth in tourism arrivals both on a regional and international basis.”
Highlighting the demands Travel & Tourism will make on global workforces, Accenture Executive Director Patrick Leung explained how “Globally the travel industry will need about 1.6 million new employees in the next ten years and, as travel is a people business, excellent service skills are a fundamental requirement for success. This presents a major opportunity for growth for the whole Chinese travel sector. With strong leadership the industry will attract and retain the top talent that is required to realize potential growth.”
As the official co-host of this event, Marriot International Senior Vice President for Human Resources Jim Pilaski commented “China continues to be a significant growth market for Marriott and hiring and developing talent is a high priority. We are excited about the potential opportunities that a conference like this offers to better understand and adapt to the human resource needs of this vibrant market.”