Helping Tourism SMEs Navigate Reopening and Beyond: COVID-19 Workforce Recovery Toolkit

Tourism HR Canada is developing the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit to help the industry get up and running as quickly as possible and build resiliency for the medium- to long-term.

Once completed, the toolkit will be a free resource based on best practices and aligned with the needs of tourism SMEs across the country. It will be a practical web-based program that will include presentations, downloadable worksheets, and tools to help tourism operators in their recovery and reopening efforts.

The contents of the toolkit are based on a series of recent in-depth interviews conducted with SMEs nationwide to understand their current reality and their future needs as the country rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. Since COVID-19 shutdowns began, tourism employment in Canada has decreased by 881,700 jobs—a 43 per cent decrease.

“Canada’s tourism industry will not return to 2019 levels in the near future. As the national workforce development organization working for the tourism sector, our goal is to provide the knowledge and tools to help tourism employers and employees rebound from the crisis and build a resilient workforce,” said Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada.

Created with support from Ottawa-based Alphabet Creative and Vancouver-based Twenty31 Consulting, the toolkit will align with industry-specific tools already available and include five modules focusing on Workforce Development, Communications, Budget & Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Planning.

Each module will provide businesses with a roadmap containing two key components and actionable tools and tips for implementation. The two components are:

  • Plan: Design and establish policies, procedures, and plans for major business and societal disruptions.
  • Respond: Navigate new pressures and address critical questions at the onset of a major disruption; enable rapid response and decision-making to prioritize effectively.

Recognizing there are varying needs and challenges faced within the tourism sector, SMEs can access comprehensive, industry-specific HR content in the following areas:

  • Accommodation
  • Food and Beverage Services
  • Recreation and Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel Services

The toolkit will be updated regularly with new content focused on topics like human resources, crisis communications, marketing, budgeting and finance, and strategic planning—all focused on business recovery and resiliency.

“This timely new resource builds on our 25 years of leading national HR and workforce initiatives for the tourism sector,” states Mondor. “The Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a forward-looking resource that will assist employers, entrepreneurs, and the workforce as a whole to plan for the new normal. It tackles crucial questions facing operators: How do I manage my workforce needs as I gradually re-open? Will my customer-base change and what are their expectations? How do I retool my daily operations to meet changing demand? This resource will guide them through the uncertainty and support their resiliency.”

Sign up at tourismrecovery.ca (English) and relancetourisme.ca (French) to receive access and updates as modules are launched in the coming weeks. The full COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit will be released in June with a French version immediately following.