The week will help shine a spotlight on careers and job opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sectors in Wales.
One of the challenges facing the sectors following the coronavirus pandemic is recruitment, with many businesses seeing a shortage of staff.
The Welsh Government has been working with the sector on the ‘Experience Makers’ recruitment campaign to highlight the potential career paths and a whole of range of personal development opportunities in tourism and hospitality.
It comes at a time when Welsh Government has been under fire from the sector for a proposal to introduce a tourism tax in Wales – with a consultation on this due to start this autumn.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “There is such a variety of interesting and rewarding career options within the tourism sector which offer flexibility as well as career development. It really is a great sector to work in.
“As we build a stronger, fairer, greener Welsh economy, we are committed to investing in our people, through the Young Person’s Guarantee, and a strong employability and skills offer, including apprenticeships.
“Apprenticeships can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills. They are also crucial to our ambitious post-Covid economic recovery plans. That’s why we have committed to creating a further 125,000 all-age apprenticeship places over the next five years
“And as the busy summer season gets underway, I’d like to thank everyone working in the sector for their hard work – the staff in this sector play a big part of making important experiences come to life.”
Sam Rowlands, Conservative MS for North Wales, has called for more support for tourism businesses in Wales.
He said: “I am delighted to be hosting an event at the Senedd on Wednesday May 18 to mark Wales Tourism Week, May 16-22 where members of the Welsh Parliament will be welcome to meet representatives and learn more about the sector from those involved in this industry.
“In North Wales I regularly visit local businesses involved in tourism and will be out and about across Wales next week to promote the initiative which also includes a recruitment campaign. I am particularly keen to spread the message to encourage more people to join the industry.
“As more and more visitors come to our beautiful country the tourism and hospitality sector needs more staff with a huge variety of roles on offer, from working in beach bars and restaurants, to five-star hotels and visitor attractions.”
The Economy Minister recently visited the Grove of Narberth. The five-star hotel is part of Seren collection in Wales, and the portfolio of venues has been working hard to address the recruitment issues facing the sector and has worked with Visit Wales on the recruitment campaign.
Claire Matthews, a receptionist at The Grove of Narberth, said switching careers to work in hospitality around four years ago has given her more time and more opportunity to explore her beloved Pembrokeshire, which in turn has helped her become a vital contact for guests.
She said: “What I love is getting people to really enjoy their stay and to get the most out of the Grove itself and also Pembrokeshire. I love living in Pembrokeshire, and even though I’ve lived here for over 20 years, this job has really encouraged me to go off and explore the area because you need to be able to explain to guests how to find places themselves and to suggest places to go and things to do whilst they are staying with us.
“Another reason I enjoy my job is the opportunity to meet people and to work as part of a team. We’re a diverse bunch with some members of the team from France, Germany and Italy. Working in hospitality will set you up to go and work anywhere you want.”
Surya Davies, Head Gardener at The Grove of Narberth has spent most of his career working in horticulture, but the lure of a role where he is expected to help create a great experience for guests saw him move back to Wales from England to work at The Grove’s stunning gardens.
He said: “Working in the hospitality industry certainly adds a different dimension to my job – that being the guest experience. We make a big difference through our work, and are on hand for things like answering questions about our garden.
“The garden gives a totally different experience to guests; it’s very relaxing and connects them with nature. The garden team plays a big part in achieving this calm and relaxed environment. The overall look and design of venues like ours is really important and the outside spaces play an important part in the guest experience too.
“Hospitality is unique. What you have is people from all walks of life in one place. It’s really fun and I enjoy it.”
The Economy Minister added: “It’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years for the visitor economy. However, the outlook for the summer looks much brighter and research now shows there is higher confidence levels and the UK public anticipate taking significantly more overnight trips in the next 12 months, than the previous 12 months. Many people visited Wales for the first time last year – and we look forward to welcoming them back again this year.”