Month: September 2018

Don Bosco Technical Institute and Tourism HR Canada Sign MOUOver the next several months, Tourism HR Canada will be working with Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) to explore a long-term business relationship that will see DBTI deliver a series of competency-based training programs and internationally recognized credentials/certifications in India. Tourism HR Canada seeks to help build capacity and ensure quality program delivery, with the aim of DBTI graduates earning a credential commensurate with Canadian standards.

Established in 1971, Don Bosco Technical Institute is a placement-driven skill training institute with over 125 locations across India. Don Bosco is dedicated to upskilling disadvantaged youth, preparing them for meaningful employment and self-realization. DBTI intends to expand on its highly respected and well-established programs by introducing tourism courses and credentials for high-demand employment options. The tourism program is envisioned to prepare youth for employment in tourism in entry-level positions, as well as enable individuals to expand their job and career prospects through advanced occupational streams, and potentially international mobility.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a commitment by both parties to:

  1. Develop a business and feasibility plan aimed at the implementation of a series of tourism courses and credentials for various occupations and functions in all areas of tourism.
  2. Identify a program implementation strategy that will support immediate and short-term goals, as well as long-term interests.
  3. Develop a proposal and work plan to train tourism trainers in India, where qualified Canadian trainers will work with a group of Indian trainers identified by DBTI.
  4. Establish DBTI as an accredited distribution agent for Emerit online programs for the Indian market.

The parties anticipate that the business and feasibility plan will lead to an agreement to establish a formal business partnership. Beyond the MOU, the plan envisions the following activities:

  • Delivery of teacher training in February/March 2019, prior to the April start of India’s academic year
  • Pilot delivery of one to four programs in one or two Don Bosco campuses in the first year, with the intent to scale up with additional programs and campuses thereafter
  • Joint development work that will result in adapted and enhanced programs with input from Indian stakeholders, to ensure the programs reflect Indian work and cultural contexts
  • Seeking funding and possible sponsorship as defined by the business plan, where needed

Further details on this MOU will be explored in an upcoming feature—stay informed by subscribing to Tourism HR Insider and get the latest delivered directly to your inbox.

Tourism HR Canada congratulates the latest post-secondary program to achieve its SMART + accreditation status. Confederation College’s Tourism – Travel and Eco-Adventure program demonstrated its tourism-related programming exceeds industry standards as envisioned in the SMART accreditation program.

“This recognition is an impressive accomplishment, and we commend Confederation College for its commitment to creating programming that reflects current industry needs and provides the type of graduate that will be integral to growing Canada’s tourism sector,” stated Tourism HR Canada President and CEO Philip Mondor.

Confederation’s two-year diploma program provides a comprehensive introduction to the tourism industry through hands-on and experiential learning. Courses cover topics ranging from tourism marketing and business fundamentals to sustainability and ecotourism. Students can choose French or Spanish language options and a field placement or study abroad opportunity. A mix of delivery methods keeps learning fresh—students participate in traditional lectures in person or online, as well as hands-on work-related projects, field placements, familiarization trips, guest speakers, and field trips.

“We have worked very hard to achieve this accreditation, which reinforces that our program is of premium quality,” said Program Coordinator Giannina Veltri. “Exceeding the industry standards has made our program measurable, adaptable, and responsive to today’s tourism industry demands. This is evidence that our students are receiving and have received the best possible experience during the two years of their Tourism – Travel & Eco-Adventure program. Faculty are committed to providing educational opportunities to a diverse population, training students for a wide range of careers in the tourism field.”

The program prioritizes inclusivity, offering authentic Indigenous activities, Indigenous learning outcomes, support for students with learning challenges, and services for international students.

In-depth industry engagement ensures the program reflects current, real-world practices and technologies. Students can access mentoring and networking opportunities through Baxter Media’s Baxter Student Ambassador Program. They can also earn numerous industry certifications and licenses to round out their résumés.

“I’m very proud of this fantastic accomplishment,” stated Richard Gemill, Dean, School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts. “The hours that [faculty members] Matthew Villella and Giannina Veltri spent throughout the accreditation process were tremendous, but pale with respect to the amount of time they spend each and every day with their students. The certifications, the excursions, the labs are all part of the program, but it is the time they spend outside of the classroom that really impacts students. Connecting with our community and industry partners on job prospects and creating partnerships with industry to help service remote communities are just two examples of the amazing work they have accomplished over the last couple of years. Achieving Tourism HR Canada’s SMART + accreditation is a testament to the dedication of Giannina and Matt to our students, our program and our community.”

The SMART Accreditation Program offers two levels of accreditation: SMART Program status for programs that meet a basic standard and a SMART + Premium Program status for programs exceeding the basic standard. The SMART Accreditation Program provides an opportunity for post-secondary public or private institutions and corporate training providers to demonstrate that their programming meets or exceeds industry standards, and offers benchmarks that tourism educators can use to assist them in continually improving their programs.

Learn more about SMART Accreditation

(seasonally unadjusted)

In August 2018, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 5.1%, which is 0.3% higher than the rate reported in August 2017, and higher than the previous month (July 2018), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.2%.

At 5.1%, tourism’s unemployment rate was well below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.6%.

With the exception of Food & Beverage Services and Travel Services, all tourism industry groups reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 0% in Prince Edward Island to 6.3% in Saskatchewan.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province were all below the rates reported for the provincial economy (Figure 1).

Tourism employment comprised 12% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of August.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – August 2017/2018
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
August 2017
Unemployment Rate –
August 2018
Tourism 4.8% 5.1%
Accommodations 3.2% 3.1%
Food and Beverage 5.0% 5.8%
Recreation and Entertainment 4.9% 4.1%
Transportation 5.9% 5.9%
Travel Services 0.0% 3.1%

Figure 1 – Tourism Sector vs. Total Labour Force Unemployment Rates by Province (Seasonally Unadjusted)

1 To determine unemployment rates, industrial (NAICS) classifications are based on the most recent job held within the past year, and are self-identified by the respondent. Unemployed persons are those who, during the reference period, were available for work but were on temporary layoff, were without work, or were to start a new job within four weeks.

2 As defined by the Canadian Tourism Satellite Account. The NAICS industries included in the tourism sector are those that would cease to exist or operate at a significantly reduced level of activity as a direct result of an absence of tourism. Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, customized tabulations. Based on data for the week ending August 18, 2018.


Join Canada’s foremost travel and tourism researchers, including Tourism HR Canada’s own Vice-President of Labour Market Intelligence, this fall in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Registration is still open for the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada’s conference, Propelling Smarter, Bolder Tourism, September 26 to 28.

Delegates will explore how research is and can be effectively employed to advance Canada’s shared social, economic, environmental, and cultural goals. It is not ‘more’ tourism that Canada needs, it’s ‘better’, more energetic, astute, intelligent tourism.

The conference features three sessions discussing major trends in Canada’s tourism sector:

  • Ulrike Gretzel of the University of Southern California will discuss smart tourism. Destinations around the world are eager to embrace smart tourism to gain competitive advantages, but only a few have successfully adopted it as a development approach and management mindset. Looking at these best practice examples, this talk will explore the critical dimensions and typical roadblocks of smart tourism development.
  • Adam Keuland Dr. Brian Eisenhauer, both of Plymouth State University, will discuss a topic that will have major ramifications in Canada just a few short weeks after the conference. Their work on cannabis tourism emerged in response to the legalization of recreational cannabis sales in several US states beginning in 2014. As a novel market in cannabis tourism has begun to blossom, their research seeks to document and discern the practical and legal/political implications of welcoming visitors to these new legalized worlds of cannabis consumption. Working with cannabis tourism operators, dispensary owners, and tourists, they examined the differentiation of these new tourism experience products, factors affecting their success, and the outlook for future cannabis tourism. Their keynote address will present this information alongside their ongoing research in Oregon and the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Given the forthcoming federal legalization of cannabis in Canada, they will lay out the promises and pitfalls of embracing cannabis tourism throughout the provinces.
  • Jason A. Kingsley of Bow Valley College will explore the basics of LGBTQ travel, from both a Canadian and an international perspective. LGBTQ travel is one of the most lucrative, yet challenging, niche travel markets…but when you understand this market, the opportunities are limitless.

Additionally, a plenary session on the world of data collection will delve into this field`s rapid evolution. Experts from Ottawa Tourism, Telus, Arrivalist, and Google will share their experiences with the realities of collecting and disseminating data in the current regulatory and technology environment. Learn about the impact of privacy protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Tourism researchers and their clients are embracing data and know-how to fearlessly chart new directions for established and emerging destinations, and supply impactful, brilliant experiences for our diverse markets. This year’s conference will provide a platform for learning about new approaches, lessons learned and the challenges ahead, as we navigate post-truth, virtually-infused, climate change impacted, emerging environments.

Join us on the East Coast to discuss and share smarter, bolder travel and tourism research.

Another summer tourist season has wrapped up across Canada—one of the most successful in recent memory. A strong global economy coupled with international visitors avoiding the political turmoil in the United States resulted in a boom in both international and domestic tourists exploring Canada’s plethora of sights and activities.

For most tourism employers, the ritual of recruiting staff for peak season is an annual necessity that induces stress, uncertainty, and a grudging acceptance that it is simply the cost of running a business in a seasonal industry.

Once the hiring process has been completed, most employers turn their attention to other crucial aspects of maximizing success over these key revenue-generating months. There is often little thought given to making summer staffing less of a burden the following season—that ship has sailed, and their attention and problem-solving skills are needed elsewhere.

With September’s arrival, we felt it would be timely to suggest some practices to implement now and sustain throughout the year—practices that will put you and your business in a more advantageous position for next spring’s hiring rush. These need not be onerous, but by including the necessity of hiring for the next busy season in ongoing business decisions, you can improve your ability to hire the right people and your chances of having these top performers stay more than a single season. Keeping your best staff members year after year allows you to save on recruitment and training costs and ensures you have a qualified, experienced, and committed staff.

Here are some tips to ensure the return of as many of your seasonal employees as possible, and strategies to hire new ones as necessary:

  1. Simply ask! Toward the end of the summer season, ask employees whether they would like to return the following year. This may seem obvious, but some may not have thought that far ahead, and may appreciate the ability to come back to a familiar job and work environment.
  2. Conduct exit interviews. Find out why some employees are keen to return while others are not. Some will be leaving for legitimate reasons, such as a school work placement or a move after graduation, but others may be seeking a workplace with more benefits or training. Use these results to tweak HR policies. This will not only boost seasonal retention, but make your longer-term employees more committed as well.
  3. Keep in touch. A quick message to say hello, a holiday greeting, or an invitation to a staff party will keep your operation top-of-mind when seasonal employees start thinking about summer plans. Consider creating a social networking group where current and former employees can chat with each other and you. Also encourage seasonal staff to swing by for a meal or visit when they are in town—extending a staff discount on your products or services or treating them to a freebie is a great gesture…and could even encourage new business if they bring along family or friends.
  4. Offer extra incentives to returning employees. Whether it’s a higher wage, a promotion, non-monetary bonuses, or training for a supervisory role, they will feel encouraged to come back. Make sure the incentives build with each year an employee returns.
  5. Be a choice employer. Providing a fun, flexible, and positive workplace will have seasonal staff looking forward to returning the following year. Make such issues as work-life balance, training, teamwork, and communication a priority. You’ll earn a reputation as a place people want to work, resulting not only in repeat seasonal employees but also in other qualified workers hoping to gain a position with you.
  6. Make connections. If your top seasonal employees are not returning for reasons unrelated to the job, ask if they have family members or friends who would be interested in coming on board. If they genuinely enjoyed their time working for you, they will not hesitate to recommend hard-working individuals to take over the role they are leaving.
  7. Expand your focus. If you tend to recruit students, consider alternate labour pools. Retired individuals may be looking for new experiences and extra income; their maturity and varied work history can bring an added dimension to your team. Newcomers to Canada are often looking for that first foot in the door to gain relevant Canadian workplace experience. They may seek seasonal experience regardless of their long-term employment plans, because it can be a good bridge to learn more about Canadian culture, norms, attitudes, and business practices. A growing number of Indigenous youth are looking to enter the workforce and gain experience in tourism—build relationships with the local Indigenous community to connect with them. These alternate labour pools often require employers to look at different recruitment, onboarding, and retention policies—look for tips in upcoming editions of HR Insider.