Presentation of the Human Resources Development Strategy for Oman
Human resource development and tourism labour policies were the focus at a recent workshop in Muscat held under the auspices of the Minstry of Tourism of Oman. The event, which took place at Oman Tourism College on 14 May, was organised to present the Final Report of the Tourism Manpower Training Needs Analysis and Human Resources Development Action Plan. The Report is the result of a project commissioned by the Ministry and implemented by UNWTO to analyse the state of the tourism labour market in Oman, review tourism education and training provision and identify future policy directions and strategies to improve the supply and overall quality of human resources in the tourism sector. Extensive quantitative and qualitative research was conducted during the project’s preliminary phase through several industry surveys. The surveys contributed to identifying the current problems faced by tourism enterprises and employees and ascertaining the future priorities for upgrading the tourism workforce. One of the key outcomes of the Needs Analysis was that the size of tourism workforce in Oman is estimated to double over the medium term with the creation of new jobs in the tourism sector in a range of functions. The action plan proposes a series of measures to reduce current imbalances between tourism labour supply and demand, through targeting skills shortages, improving the quality and provision of education and training programmes and strengthening industry dialogue. The action plan was underpinned by two principal factors, namely to support the government’s Omanisation policy, through establishing programmes to encourage Omani employment in tourism at all levels, and the need to raise greater awareness of tourism and promote the sector within the country.
The workshop was attended by senior officials from the government, private sector representatives and higher education institutions. In her opening remarks at the workshop, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism of Oman, Ms Maitha al Mahrooqiyah, highlighted the contribution of tourism to Oman’s economy and stated that the tourism sector would provide new employment opportunities for Omanis. The Undersecretary added that the Report’s findings required government supported programmes to increase awareness among Oman’s youth of the career opportunities offered by tourism enterprises, and underscored the importance of quality education and training initiatives.
Following the presentation, there was a discussion in which participants contributed their own experiences and perspectives. Commending Oman for its numerous achievements as a tourism destination, UNWTO’s Technical Cooperation and Services Director Dr Harsh Varma said: “The immediate objective is to provide the government with a clear direction and phased action plan for the development of human resources in line with the dual objectives of meeting future labour demand while maximizing the benefits from tourism employment to the Omani people”.