Tourism Job Fair soon to address manpower shortage among hoteliers, says Tourism Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: A job fair aimed at hiring workers for the tourism industry will soon be held in order to address the severe manpower issues that many hoteliers are facing, said

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (pic).

Nancy said she had recently spoken to several local hoteliers regarding issues they faced on the lack of workers.

"I have brought this matter to the Cabinet and the ministry was told to organise a 'Tourism Job Fair' program.

"So that is among our proposals to address this issue," said Nancy during her winding up speech on Budget 2022 at the Committee Stage in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 25).

Nancy was responding to Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut), who earlier raised the issue of insufficient staff that was recently plaguing the tourism industry.

Earlier, Yeoh had pointed out many hotels are facing a shortage of staff, as many of their employees had left to pursue other jobs when the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year.

"I'm proposing the ministry hold discussions with the Human Resources Ministry to provide training.

"The hotels must be assisted so when the economy reopens, they can cope," said Yeoh.

At the same time, Yeoh said international borders have been closed for nearly two years, and she asked whether the ministry has any plans to reduce its Tourism Malaysia officers who were stationed overseas.

"What are the steps taken by the ministry to cut costs? Will these officers be ordered to return to the country until the pandemic is over?" she questioned.

Later on, Nancy said the ministry's Tourism Malaysia officers who were overseas will remain stationed at their respective offices.

As a cost-cutting measure, Nancy said the ministry did not appoint any deputy director for Tourism Malaysia branches overseas.

"Nearly every Tourism Malaysia office overseas is managed by a home-based officer to ensure that the country's image and promotional activities are maintained.

Nancy said further details will be provided in a Parliamentary reply soon, as she was running out of time for her winding up speech.

Yeoh appeared dissatisfied towards Nancy's reply, saying that a job fair would not encourage experienced workers to return to the tourism sector.

"Because there aren't any incentives. Another lock down, they will lose their jobs. They need a lot of financial assistance," Yeoh added.

Nancy said there were various welfare programs by the government to assist workers in the B40 category and those who need help are always welcomed to apply for aid.

"We don't want another lockdown YB," added Nancy.

In October, Nancy had said losses in tourist expenditure are expected to rise to RM165bil this year from RM135bil last year due to the movement control order that restricted travel.

National Recovery Council chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Nov 11 that Malaysia's borders should be reopened to international visitors by Jan 1 next year.

Malaysia recorded a total of 4,332,722 international tourist arrivals last year, a massive decline from the 26,100,784 tourists arrivals recorded in 2019.

For the same period, Malaysia's tourist receipts also plunged by 85.3% from RM86.14bil in 2019 to RM12.69bil last year.

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