Reskilling and upskilling in tourism: a need and a business opportunity

Human resources play a central role in the tourism industry, and will remain so even with the rebound, which will result from the decline of the epidemic wave.
Consequently, all businesses will have to face many challenges and, although we cannot read the crystal ball, there is a widespread belief that there will be an intense acceleration in the change of certain paradigms. The ongoing digital revolution, the radical change in certain habits and behaviours, the evolution of certain segments such as MICE, the repercussions on the value chain and distribution are just some of the signs of the expected changes. In order to remain competitive, tourism enterprises, especially SMEs, will have to involve trained and skilled human resources to face a “new tourism season”. At the same time, even more traditional businesses such as hospitality, travel agencies, tour operators and events organisers may need to adapt their business models to new scenarios and opportunities, such as subscription models.
In this context, lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important, especially in the context of re-training, i.e. in-depth retraining also through greater access to new technologies and practices. It will not only be a necessity for employees or the workforce, but it will have to involve all levels, including the managerial and entrepreneurial one.
Moreover, educational and vocational training will also have to be updated to reflect the new emerging realities and scenarios.
At the same time, human resources in tourism will have to develop new skills (upskilling) since both modern working methods and scenarios will require new skills: smart working, e-commerce, data analysis, e-learning are just some of the innovations that are now becoming a pre-requisite for tourism businesses. For this reason, the European Union set up a new Erasmus+ programme and the ESF, European Social Fund, which will finance many of these projects.
Furthermore, incubators and accelerators will play an important role in enabling tourism SMEs and startups to scale their business, supporting them in adopting new practices especially related to new technologies.

At Twissen we observed that especially in the tourism sector there is an unprecedented need for training, transversal and above all at any level, even for trainers who will have to face the challenges of distance learning. But it is exactly from the methods of training through new technologies that new business opportunities arise for companies that develop knowledge, not only because of the reduction of geographical distances, but also because of new synchronous as well as asynchronous distance learning techniques.


Author: Francesco Redi
President and founder at Twissen. Manager in Local Development, Tourism Policies,  EU Funds. He cooperates with several European universities, public bodies, development agencies, DMOs and enterprises.

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