Giving Jordan’s tourism a boost

In a major step to boost the tourism and hospitality sector in Jordan, the country’s first Sector Skills Council for Tourism and Hospitality(SSC) was launched in July, with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The council will play an important role in the reform of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and support the sector to identify skill needs as well as to set standards for occupational skills.

Jordan’s tourism and hospitality sector generates more than 13%  of the country’s GDP, but has been severely affected by the  coronavirus pandemic.Last year, tourism fell drastically and the sector will be key for the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

Skills enhancement tends to be seen as an essential prerequisite to recovery and the council is dedicated to this aim. It was established in 2018 and legally institutionalised in 2020. The council brings together the private sector and professional associations, with public sector participation. The organisation also supports employees by addressing the need for skills.

Youssef Shamali

The launch event in Amman was attended by Youssef Shamali, Jordan’s Minister of Labour, Nayef Al Fayez, Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Bridget Brind, British ambassador to Jordan, and Barbara Rambousek, EBRD Director, Gender and Economic Inclusion.

Nayef Al Fayez

As part of the event, the EBRD and the Jordan Restaurant Association(JRA) also launched the Alhan Jobs portal, which was developed to provide access to jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector and enable businesses to showcase their opportunities and secure skilled talent.

Connecting employers with talented individuals dedicated to a career in tourism and hospitality, the portal allows businesses to post vacancies and search the CV database. It also provides jobseekers with access to the latest jobs, careers advice and training opportunities to build a successful career.

Bridget Brind

Bridget Brind, British ambassador to Jordan, commented: “The tourism sector has faced immense disruption worldwide and we recognise that it is integral to Jordan and one of the most important engines of economic growth. I am delighted that the United Kingdom is working alongside the government of Jordan, the EBRD and the private sector to support the launch of the Sector Skills Council for Tourism and Hospitality and the Ahlan Jobs portal. The council will reinforce the recovery of the sector, bridge the skills gap between jobseekers and employers, and align with the jobs portal that will benefit more than 1,000 individuals through skills training and job placement.”

For Barbara Rambousek, Director, Gender and Economic Inclusion at the EBRD, “The launch of the SSC in hospitality and tourism is a manifestation of the EBRD’s inclusive business model that aims to bridge the skills gap, support demand-driven TVET reforms and institutionalise a leading role for the private sector in informing labour market and human capital policies.”

According to Olena Koval, Head of Civil Society Engagement and Private Sector Partnerships at the EBRD, “The EBRD is committed to supporting civil society for a fair and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. In particular, collaboration with sector associations has the potential to steer the entire sector towards an inclusive job market. The launch of Ahlan Jobs is, therefore, an important step towards good quality and inclusive employment for refugees, women and youth in Jordan.”

Eliana Janineh, General Manager, Jordan Restaurant Association, commented: “We are pleased to offer free vacancy posting for a limited time to all employers across the tourism and hospitality sector. We recognise the challenges that businesses in our industry face and we want to do everything we can to attract skilled talent and help connect employers with the most motivated and passionate individuals seeking a career in the industry.”

Mohammad Al Qasem

Chairman of the Board of the Sector Skills Council for Tourism and Hospitality Mohammad Al Qasem, was delighted to be able to offer more opportunities, especially to women  “In addition to the challenges faced by young men and women entering the tourism labour market, a lack of relevant skills can amplify those difficulties and become a major restriction, especially for women, who already face inequality in terms of pay and career progression opportunities. The establishment of this skills council is a major milestone in skills development in Jordan that will not only aim to bridge the mismatch in skills but also to improve policies and encourage more women into the tourism sector, where they currently represent only nine per cent of the workforce.”Since 2013, the EBRD has supported the creation of job opportunities for young people in Jordan’s tourism sector.To date, the Bank has helped train more than 1,200 young Jordanians in the tourism industry and trained over 9,000 hospitality and tourism employees in providing Covid-19-safe service.

Since it started investing in Jordan in 2012, the EBRD has provided more than €1.5bn in financing for 59 projects in the country.