Working with public and private sector tourism partners in the Caribbean, The Bahamas and South Florida, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and its counterpart, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), have launched "Tourism Jobs for Bahamians" to secure temporary employment for these industry professionals.
Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest storms on record, forced more than 2,500 hospitality professionals out of work in The Abacos and Grand Bahama, eliminating jobs that were supporting more than 10,000 family members in these islands.
To identify such temporary positions, CHTA is deploying its Caribbean Tourism Job Bank, set up in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, to connect Bahamian job seekers with opportunities in the 80 percent of The Bahamas that the hurricane missed. The Job Bank will also seek openings in the Caribbean region, the United States and Canada. The CHTA urges potential employers to use the Job Bank to post openings for the full range of hotel and tourism functions, from management, supervisory and line level positions to specialty areas like chefs, bartenders, engineers, groundskeepers, marina support, sales, marketing and accounts.
CHTA reports that several hotels have already tapped this large pool of experienced hospitality employees, while others have committed to hiring displaced workers.
Among the early responders to the CHTA appeal are unaffected Bahamas hotels such as Sandals Resorts, Baha Mar and Atlantis Paradise Island, along with hotels in the Out Islands of Eleuthera, Exuma, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, and Long Island.
CHTA is also reaching out for prospective employers through the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association.
Tourism employers in the U.S., Canada and the wider Caribbean region interested in offering short-term and temporary employment for these industry professionals can visit https://jobbank.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com where they can post jobs and search for available candidates.
Bahamian tourism professionals wanting short-term and seasonal employment while rebuilding is underway in The Abacos and Grand Bahama can visit the portal to create a profile and search for available positions.
CHTA hopes that humanitarian and economic considerations will allow for a temporary waiver of visa restrictions, particularly in South Florida, where hotel employers report difficulties in filling many positions, given the low unemployment rate and where many affected Bahamians have extended friends and family who can provide added support, like housing, to help tide over the period before they return to The Bahamas.