OTTAWA — Tourism HR Canada launched the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit on June 24 to guide the hard-hit industry as it works to recover and build resiliency for the medium to long term. To coincide with the launch, the organization also hosted a webinar to introduce industry stakeholders to crucial features of the toolkit and provide actionable advice on how to implement the content most relevant to their recovery needs.
The COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a practical, free, web-based program that includes guidelines, workflows, checklists and tools focused on topics such as finance, health and safety, human resources and change management to provide action items for tourism operators planning and launching their re-opening and recovery efforts. The English version of the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit is now available at tourismrecovery.ca. The French version will be released in the coming weeks.
“Since COVID-19 shutdowns began, the tourism industry has been decimated, with nearly one-million people losing their tourism jobs and most businesses being temporarily closed,” said Philip Mondor, president and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “With regions slowly allowing businesses and experiences to re-open, there is not only hope but a determination to see a rebounding of the once-thriving sector and community as a whole.”
The toolkit includes five modules — Workforce, Communications, Budget and Finance, Marketing and Strategic Planning — and aligns with industry-specific tools already available from key oversight organizations. Each module provides businesses with a roadmap containing actionable tools and tips for implementation, linked to two key themes:
- Plan — design and establish policies, procedures and plans for major business and societal disruptions
- Respond — navigate new pressures and address critical questions at the onset of a major disruption; enable rapid response and decision-making to prioritize effectively
Recognizing there are varying needs and challenges faced within the broader tourism sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can access comprehensive industry-specific HR content.
“HR plans are going to be a bigger concern than they would have been for many tourism operators in the past. Indeed, we know many did not even actually have formal plans. But, times have changed,” said Mondor. “There are new protocols; expanded health-and-safety practices; new ways of working; laws are changing — many different labour laws, in fact; there are new demands about how you work with high-risk and essential workers; there are new government programs. You’re going to be working with a smaller workforce until you have sufficient recovery of your visitor base. Times have changed — your product will be different, your business will look different; so too then, will your HR strategy.”
And, he added, “From a sector lens, [HR is] one of our key concerns. We’re worried about how we’re going to help the 600,000 or so workers that are probably not going to get jobs with us for some time.”
Delivering guidance and instructions for best practices, the contents of the toolkit were developed based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted with SMEs nationwide to understand their current reality and their future needs as the country rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. The toolkit is dynamic and will be updated regularly with new content. This will include a revamp of the organization’s Business-Builders series, which is set to launch in August. The series helps businesses take their thinking further when planning for recovery and the future, in addition to offering further tools to help new start-ups.
“Business Builders is a whole other kind of program that people will be benefiting from. This has been one of [our] more used products, historically,” explained Mondor.
Tourism HR Canada has also partnered with agencies and associations to ensure collaboration and a sharing of tools and resources across platforms to better serve the tourism community.
“The most important conversations taking place are about how to instill confidence in businesses and visitors that it will be economically feasible and safe to re-open and return to travel,” said Mondor. “The best way to do that is to outline a clear set of guidelines to be followed, provide resources and tools to be implemented and create education about how to move forward in these mid- and post-pandemic realities. With businesses following these measures, the public will feel assured that everything is done in order to maintain their health and safety and this will open up the concept of non-essential travel once again.”
A recording of the webinar is available here.