With Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the global economy, the UAE has also not been spared. Among the worst-affected sectors in the UAE was the hospitality and tourism industry, a key driver of its GDP. As per statistics, tourism contributed an impressive 11.5% of the country’s GDP in 2019. A whopping 16.73 million tourists arrived in Dubai that same year, of whom more than 2.3 million were business travellers.
Global Tourism and Hospitality Sector Devastated by Covid-19
In March 2020, Covid-19-induced restrictions dealt a devastating blow to the global hospitality and tourism sector. Travel bans imposed to check the spread of the virus affected the movement of people all around the world. Thanks to the curbs on community mobility, travel and tourism-related activities largely ceased. Millions of jobs were lost in the hospitality and tourism sector globally due to flight, event and hotel cancellations. The story was no different in the UAE.
Slowly Getting Back on Track
On 7 July 2020, Dubai announced the reopening of the metropolis to tourists. But with people wary of travelling, and travel restrictions still very much in place in many parts of the world, sectoral recovery was sluggish. Now, although travellers have begun arriving in the UAE once again, the numbers are still much below pre-pandemic levels.
The good news is that things are looking better. Economic recovery has begun and once vaccines are available, the tourism and hospitality business is expected to grow at a faster pace. If you are someone who is keen on carving out a career in the hospitality and tourism sector, this is the right time to start your preparations.
The tourism and hospitality sector requires candidates to possess a wide range of soft skills, including:
- Emotional intelligence
- Interpersonal skills
- Team skills
- Commitment towards guests
- Capability to manage diversity
- Proactive approach
- Commercial awareness
- Positive attitude
- Enthusiasm towards job
Your soft skills will play an important role in helping you deal with guests, but also enable you to successfully manage a team when you rise up the professional ladder.
It is important to have the relevant qualifications to enable tourism and hospitality employers to seriously consider your CV. Various qualifications are available for those interested in a career in the sector including certification, diploma, undergraduate and Master’s degrees.
You can choose your specialisation from options such as hotel management, restaurant management, desk management, hotel reception, catering management, tourism studies, tourism planning, and international tourism.
How to Get a Good Job
If you are a resident of the UAE, you can reach out to prospective employers via references or direct applications. To stand out among a heap of resumes, you need to have a well-made CV and an effective cover letter to attract the attention of the employer.
If you are an overseas candidate, you must have a work permit, later converted into a residency visa. Candidates who apply for a UAE work/residency permit must undergo a medical test to ensure that they are free from all communicable diseases. Food handlers and restaurant and café workers must also test negative for Hepatitis B and syphilis.
The Effect of the Pandemic on Candidates and Job Seekers
One of the key effects of the pandemic is that hospitality and tourism businesses will need to place greater emphasis on hygiene and sanitisation. Employees need to be trained to ensure distancing along with taking other precautions. There are several touchpoints between the guests and the staff in any hospitality and tourism enterprise, and you need to ensure that your guests have a positive experience through each of these.
Course curriculums for the hospitality and tourism industry may also have to be modified to reflect these requirements. Job seekers will need to inculcate a sense of responsibility towards their guests. They must also be taught about how to respond to unexpected public health crises. The safety of their guests and themselves will be an overwhelming priority for hospitality and tourism workers in a post-Covid world.
Catering to New Requirements
UAE’s tourism and hospitality sector is charting a slow recovery after getting battered by the pandemic. Going forward, the industry must learn to cater to what is being called ‘Generation Clean’—a new type of traveller who places maximum emphasis on health and sanitisation while making their travel bookings. Along with having the right qualifications and attributes, job seekers must be attuned to the needs of post-Covid travellers to be successful in their jobs.
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