SINGAPORE - With nearly 4,000 job openings in the tourism industry, hospitality school students here are being primed to help Singapore further its push to become a sustainable tourism and urban wellness destination.
Tourism companies are also actively recruiting to support recovery, and the emerging sectors of sustainability and wellness have also made new roles and skill sets necessary, noted Ms Jeannie Lim, Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) assistant chief executive (policy planning group).
“As tourism businesses continue to push the frontier in developing sustainable products, infrastructure and experiences, we see an increasing demand for green jobs such as a sustainability manager or a carbon accountant,” she said.
“Existing roles will also undergo some degree of transformation, for example, a product development manager will now need to acquire new skill sets in sustainable supply chain management,” added Ms Lim, who was speaking at Tourism Transformation 2023, a joint polytechnic-ITE hospitality and tourism career fair held at Singapore Polytechnic on Thursday.
As at September 2022, about 65,000 people – or around 78 per cent of the figures in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 – were employed in the tourism industry here.
Ms Lim noted that globally, with increased environmental consciousness, tourists have a greater interest in sustainable travel options, such as eco-friendly hotels and attractions.
“Hence, there are plenty of opportunities to create new green jobs, transform our industries, and harness sustainability as a competitive advantage,” she said.
Ms Lim said that opportunities are also ripe in the hotel sector, with 4,000 new hotel rooms coming on stream in 2023. New hotel openings include Mondrian Singapore Duxton, which is set to open in March; and Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa, which is set to open in the second half of 2023.
Singapore’s tourism sector is in a strong position for robust recovery. On Tuesday, STB said that international visitor arrivals are expected to hit 12 million to 14 million in 2023, doubling the 6.3 million visitors that the Republic saw in 2022.
Tourism receipts are also anticipated to climb to $18 billion to $21 billion, with full tourism recovery expected by 2024.
Hospitality schools and courses at polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) are also continually improving their curriculum to meet these demands and ensure that students are equipped with the skills to support the industry, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, who was also speaking at Tourism Transformation 2023.
The event, now in its fifth edition, aims to promote tourism as a career of choice for students across the polytechnics and ITE. It is also a platform for industry partners in various tourism-related sectors to share career prospects.
There were around 15 exhibitors across various tourism-related sectors at the event, such as attractions; meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice); and tours and travel. They included big players like Mount Faber Leisure Group, as well as event management company Pico Art, which organises Singapore Night Festival and i Light Singapore.
Singapore Polytechnic (SP) principal and chief executive Soh Wai Wah noted that sustainable tourism and wellness have fast become growth opportunities in the tourism industry.
To prepare graduates for emerging career opportunities in the sector, the school’s students have already started incorporating sustainability practices and strategies in their course work when planning events in support of the industry’s move towards sustainability.
For instance, as part of SP’s Diploma in Integrated Events & Project Management course, students helped organise two events in 2022 – namely Design Thinking | User Experience 2022 and Architecture & Building Services – which had sustainable practices such as using e-brochures instead of printed ones, and minimising food waste by not over-ordering.
Among the attendees at Thursday’s fair was second-year SP student Javan Law, 19, who is looking to enter the Mice industry.
“The tourism industry is attractive, and I can’t wait to join the industry and be part of large-scale, major events like F1 and and FHA-Food & Beverage,” he said.
“So far in course work and projects, we see that there’s always a sustainability component, but once I’m on internship, hopefully I get to see it in action.”