2008 Tourism HR Forum Highlights

Delegates leave annual forum with new ideas and ramped-up enthusiasm to tackle their HR challenges

Nearly 200 delegates from across Canada and from abroad gathered in Winnipeg last week to discuss challenges and find solutions to their human resources realities. Highlights of this year’s event included the keynote address by Dr. Nick Bontis titled Leadershift. This highly engaging presentation discussed the need to embrace new knowledge, and how by doing so, HR professionals can re-tool, re-learn, re-new and re-certify to meet the needs of employees and stay competitive. Dr. Bontis went on to state that “the number one most important thing that will drive success in tourism in the next five years: treat training as an investment, not a cost.”

Breakout sessions also received positive feedback, with sessions on competing for Aboriginal talent and tapping into foreign-trained workers being the two most popular. One breakout included a panel discussing a new Cooks Qualification Framework. Working with some of Canada’s top chefs, employers, and educators, the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) designed the framework to better attract and retain qualified workers, as well as to support learner and worker mobility, and better recognize qualifications. Educators, employers, chefs, students, industry associations, HR organizations, and government can all gain from regulated cooking qualifications. Panelist Jonathan Rouse, dean of Vancouver Community College’s School of Hospitality, said, “Having this framework will be a great vehicle for me to use as a communication tool and as a way of identifying best practices.”

Delegates left Winnipeg with a renewed energy to tackle their HR challenges head on, and new tools that will help them succeed. Wayne Copet of Travel Manitoba was pleased that this year’s event was so close to home: “I attend for the relevance of content. I like to gain key insights in engaging employees for the tourism industry.”

In recent years the annual HR Forum has been to Halifax, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, and in 2009 the Tourism HR Forum moves east to Montreal, gem of the St. Lawrence. As dates, details, and agendas are finalized they will be posted at www.cthrc.ca.