Creating local opportunities in India

As the Indian tourism sector grows, CSD investigates why this isn’t translating into jobs for locals

19 August 2013

Catering in IndiaThe World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has named India as one the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world, with visitors expected to top 29 million by 2018, up from 11 million in 2008. The surge in tourism is leading to demand for new recruits and training provision in the sector. WTTC figures suggest that by 2021, travel and tourism will account for over 30 million jobs in India – an increase of more than 22 per cent over the next nine years.

Yet, despite the expanding number of job opportunities, many Indian employers are sourcing workers from outside the communities where their businesses are based, meaning local people are often overlooked for recruitment. ‘Many people would assume that the presence of hotels in rural and coastal areas provides work for local people,’ says Chris Gale, Project Manager, City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD), ‘but in reality, many locals are excluded from jobs because qualifications or previous experience are often required.’

To better understand how tourism growth could improve employment opportunities for Indian people, CSD has launched a research project in partnership with Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS). The report looked at four hotels in the southern regions of Kerala and Karanataka that have recruited from local communities and are running in-house training programmes. CSD believes these hotel operations can provide a framework for developing the tourism sector throughout the whole of India.

‘We looked at cases where hotels had effectively developed training approaches that enabled disadvantaged individuals to learn skills on the job, despite no formal qualifications and low levels of literacy,’ says Gale. ‘We believe there is an opportunity to help more Indian hotels employ and train individuals from the rural communities in which they operate. This could bring business benefits for the hotels as well as the local communities; for example by reducing skills gaps and removing dependencies on sourcing outside workers.’

The lack of ‘soft skills’ such as communication skills and confidence as well as poor English language skills were highlighted as significant barriers to career progression for Indian locals. The report also found that women faced restricted employment opportunities in this sector due to social stigma, perceptions of promiscuity, and the long hours that can conflict with women’s roles in the home.





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