Tourism and hospitality are among the world’s largest and rapidly growing industries. They create many employment opportunities in different sectors like accommodation, food & beverage services, attraction sites, transportation and recreation activities. Therefore, tourism plays an important role in the EU because of its economic and social potential, but it needs to be continuously improved.

European Tourism Day

“The European Union has been working more and more on the tourism sector," comments Lucia Sinigaglia, project manager at the Belgian-Italian Chamber Of Commerce –which is traditionally managed by the Member States or even the Regions.

Through the European Tourism Day (which will be next 28 November), the COSME programme and other dedicated events and initiatives, the EU wishes to strengthen the transnational cooperation among different stakeholders and to offer support to the development of the European enterprises”.

However, the labor market in the tourism sector is rapidly changing due to many factors including the widespread use of technologies. How to face them?

Tourism digitalization started a few years ago

“The digitalization in tourism starts some years ago and is now the heart of the battle,”states Julien Vanlaeys, Area Manager MICE / Leisure & Reservation at Thon Hotels and one of the speakers of the conference “Digitalization in tourism sector: new Skills and professions” who will discuss in detail the topic with Helene Lloyd (Director of Tourism, Marketing & Intelligence), Sandra Reygaert (Manager Corporate Human Resources at the Rezidor Hotel Group) and Silvia Barbone (Jlag & FEST Foundation Director), moderator of the event.

“A lot of companies are now placing this subject as their first concern and it is probably the time to not miss the boat. In fact, the professionals of the tourism industry are facing to new tools and new process, all digitals, in constant evolution. If you place yourself as a client, the winners of tomorrow are the ones who can simplify all this process.

As a consequence, employees have to develop new skills and competencies so that they could successfully face the new needs leading to brand new professions in the tourism sector” concludes Vanlayes.

The conference organized in Brussels on Tuesday 21st November by the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce will be the occasion to analyze the consequences of the digital adaptation of the tourism sector to the professions involved.

“Brussels has been chosen to host this conference in order to bring to the attention of the most important European stakeholders the main issues of the employment in tourism" adds Lucia Sinigaglia. “The developments in ICT are substantially changing the activities of the tourism sector. Many tasks are becoming redundant (mainly administrative and support functions), whilst new occupations are emerging, in particular in the online marketing. There is a need for the education to provide the skills for these new occupations and also to raise the overall level of digital skills for changing occupations”.

The conference is realized within the project “IdEATE – Improved Employability and Apprenticeship in the Tourism Sector”, an 18 month EU project which involves 10 different partners from Italy, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece and Spain.

IdEATE aims to create a professional network which connects job seekers, prospective employers and SMEs, training institutions, public authorities active in the tourism field, facilitating the uptake of high-quality jobs, apprenticeships, and traineeships across the EU.