Tourism in Northern Ontario can provide an incredible career path and Destination Northern Ontario is working hard to attract individuals to this vibrant and growing industry. Every year, tourism in Northern Ontario generates approximately $1.6 billion and contributes $450 million towards Ontario’s annual GDP. With tourism responsible for 1.8 million jobs in Canada and over 2% of the national GDP, it is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and a leading economic driver.
One out of every four businesses in the north are tourism-related, which means that there are many opportunities for individuals to find rewarding tourism careers right here at home. We sat down with Sara Currier, Industry Communications Coordinator for Destination Northern Ontario, to talk to her about their new tourism career awareness campaign, Tourism Rocks, and to find out more about careers in our province’s vibrant tourism industry.
What motivated Destination Northern Ontario to create the Tourism as a Career Awareness Campaign?
“In the first year of the Tourism SkillsNet North and A Three Fires Collaborative Quest projects, a negative perception of careers in tourism was recognized as well as a lack of awareness of available career opportunities in tourism among youth in Northern Ontario.
The objective of the Tourism Rocks campaign is to create an industry-wide effort to promote tourism careers and to elevate the public's knowledge of tourism as an economic driver and job creator.
The goal is to build a strong tourism workforce while improving the perception of the tourism sector as a viable, life-long career choice, ultimately filling the growing labour gap the industry faces now and in the coming years.”
How will the Tourism as a Career Campaign help the tourism industry in Northern Ontario?
“There are now, and have been for the last several years, employment gaps in the tourism industry. These gaps have increased since the onset of the pandemic. Traditional positions like housekeepers, cooks, food and beverage servers, dockhands, maintenance, and general management are all essential to supporting a vibrant tourism sector.
The campaign rollout includes a tourism tool kit. The toolkit has been designed for use by educators and employment service providers to introduce students and clients to potential opportunities. It will also be made available digitally for government representatives at all levels, educators, and employment services providers in the coming months.
The tool kit will be directed with a campaign rollout to educators in elementary, high school, and early post-secondary education and will highlight the many positive aspects of a career in tourism, available career paths, and the economic importance of the sector.”
Where can someone who is interested in exploring a career in hospitality and tourism go?
“The digital toolkit will be available online to view in the coming months. Check in with your school’s guidance counsellor or local employment service provider to view a hard copy of the tourism toolkit.
The toolkit will provide resources and tools focused on providing indigenous youth, high school and post-secondary students, and adults looking to transition to a career in tourism.
One way to start early is to find out if your local high school offers a Specialty High School Major (SHSM) program in hospitality and tourism.”
Destination Northern Ontario
Destination Northern Ontario is one of 13 not-for-profit regional tourism organizations funded by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. They are the largest tourism region in geography, the second largest in expenditure and the only region that includes sub-regions.