The 10th Tourism Human Resources Conference will be held from October 30 – November 1, 2023 in Nevis under the theme: “Navigating the Next Phase of Caribbean Tourism”. Under this theme, we will focus on ‘Talent and Technology – 2024 and beyond’ and will provide insights on how human resource development can be optimally leveraged to support the growth, development, innovation and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism sector.
The last ten years have seen the Caribbean tourism sector face periods of growth, uncertainty and even a period of significant decline. From fluctuating oil prices influencing the cost of travel to extreme weather events impacting livelihoods in the region and in the marketplace; from new and emerging destinations prompting greater global tourism competition to the on-going trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy; from a global pandemic, which triggered one of the most serious health and economic crises since World War II to disruptive technologies opening opportunities for all to participate in global business. The Caribbean region continues to cautiously navigate these economic, environmental, and political occurrences to demonstrate its resilience and its thrust towards sustainable growth.
Despite the ebb and flow in regional tourism performance, what is certain is that opportunities abound for the Caribbean travel and tourism industry. With the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) indicating that the region has already recovered close to 90% of its 2019 arrivals (32.0 million) and further growth in 2023 being anticipated (10% – 15% over 2022), there will be more visitors to welcome, more experiences to provide, more demands to be met, more jobs created, and more revenue generated.
While the opportunities in the Caribbean are tremendous, our ability to grasp and capitalise on them is dependent on several variables; two key ones being the region’s talent pool and the sector’s ability to attract, retain and develop high-quality talent; and ubiquitous technology and how this is leveraged to drive the continued growth and competitiveness of the region’s tourism industry. In light of these realities, questions emerge which need to be urgently addressed, such as how will technology continue to transform the labour landscape? Is the sector strategic in its workforce planning & development? Is there a strong business case being built for investing in talent to meet future workforce needs? How can a balance be struck, and optimisation achieved, between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans? Have there been major disruptions in jobs and skills, and what do we do about it?
The main aim of the Tourism Human Resources Conference is to bring together tourism practitioners, from both the public and private sectors, human resource professionals, tourism educators/trainers and consultants as well as tourism & hospitality students of tertiary institutions to share and discuss the latest HR trends and best practices, explore solutions and strategies on areas and issues affecting the tourism and hospitality sectors, provide updated information on various aspects of tourism’s development, enhance skills and allow opportunities for professional networking.
Speakers of international and regional acclaim will provide pertinent and current information on a range of topics related to the central theme, all with a view toward the development of a sustainable tourism industry that will position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round warm weather destination. The conference will comprise of a keynote address, followed by several plenary sessions facilitated through executive insights sessions and panel discussions, a students’ forum, a health and wellness session and two Master Classes.