NITA/HATS Policy Focus – People and Skills

Launch of the NITA/HATS Skills paper ‘Policy Focus: People and Skills’

Tourism has been one of the most successful parts of the local economy, contributing £3bn to the NI economy in 20191 and is export led with 70% of spend being generated by visitors from outside Northern Ireland. To support the sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth of the tourism sector and contribute to the delivery of the government’s 10X Economic Vision of positioning Northern Ireland amongst the most competitive small, advanced economies in the world, access to a highly skilled, motivated and engaged workforce is critical.

As the sector continues in its recovery from the impact of the pandemic, labour shortages alongside supply chain issues and surging inflation have created a series of new disruptions for businesses. Whilst progress is being made to address the challenges faced, there’s still much to do which requires concerted and co-ordinated action across industry, government and key delivery partners.

The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA) is working in partnership with the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Network (HATS) to tackle the skills challenges facing the industry. NITA is the independent voice representing the diversity of the tourism economy in Northern Ireland. NITA aims to challenge and hold to account government agencies and politicians whilst lobbying to influence and shape policy based on industry insights and knowledge.

The HATS Network is an employer led network focused on addressing talent attraction and retention in hospitality and tourism through collaboration. HATS has a proven record of facilitating sectoral input to inform skills policy, funding and interventions to support the sector’s skills needs and is supported by Invest NI, under its collaborative growth programme, Tourism NI and the NI Hotels Federation. The collective membership of the HATS Network and NITA offer an established clustering of employers across the breadth of the hospitality and tourism sector with a shared passion for skills development and a proven track record of facilitating sectoral input to skills policy.

This policy paper has been developed to communicate the current skills issues facing industry and to clearly outline the priorities and actions required for the industry to reach its full potential. It proposes collaborative actions between government, industry and delivery partners that are designed to transform perceptions of the industry and to attract, retain and develop talented people with the skills it needs both now and in the future, which is vital for Northern Ireland’s continued economic and social growth.

The full policy paper can be accessed here.