Set your sights on PEI’s tourism sector
by Stella Shepard
Tourism is the second-largest industry on Prince Edward Island.
The tourism industry plays a significant economic role on PEI. The industry provides 15,000 to 17,000 full-time, part-time, seasonal, and year-round jobs, which is equivalent to 7,700 full-time year-round jobs.
Tourism contributes 6.4 percent of PEI’s total GDP, the highest percentage of any province in Canada. The industry also generates $60 million in a year in provincial taxes. For every $1 invested by the provincial government in tourism, $2.80 is generated in increased government revenues.
Tourism on Prince Edward Island – Hiring practices
Blue Mussel Café, North Rustico Harbour
Dave’s Lobster, Charlottetown & Cavendish
Dyne Holdings, Charlottetown
EasyPEI Software Inc., Charlottetown
Grandpa’s Antique Photo Studio, Cavendish
Murphy Hospitality Group, PEI and Halifax
Northumberland Ferries, Wood Islands
Razzy’s Roadhouse, Charlottetown & Cavendish
Red Shores, Charlottetown
Roberts Group of Companies, Kinkora, Alberton, Clinton, Kensington, New Annan
Target Tours & Target Tours Atlantic, Stratford
The Holman Grand, Charlottetown
Tignish Initiatives Cooperation, Tignish
Tourism PEI, Island-wide
TOURSEC & APPS Integrated Security Solutions, Charlottetown
Tranquility Cove Adventures, Georgetown
Tourism PEI Strategic Plan for Tourism 2016-2021: Vision 2021
In November 2016, the final presentation of the report Tourism PEI Strategic Plan for Tourism 2016-2021 was presented to stakeholders. Check this link.
Among the many findings in the report, one conclusion is that labour force supply is one of the most pressing issues which needs to be addressed.
One goal the report identifies is to “ensure a committed, skilled and professional industry leadership and workforce to professionally supply peak requirements and support shoulder season expansion.”
Other Human Resource Priorities:
- Set up informal mentoring support for new operators
- Provide continuous training in digital marketing to the SME sector
- Introduce a tax break or fiscal incentive to over 55s who work as tourism/hospitality sector employees
- Modify the rules of the International Experience Canada (IEC) program
- Promote succession planning in rural areas via a tax code or other adjustment
“Since the industry was so involved in its creation, Vision 2021 is a very powerful document that we can act on,” says Minister Heath MacDonald, Economic Development and Tourism Minister.
“I congratulate TIAPEI on its effort to put industry at the forefront and for its recommendations on how we can build our reputation as one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
“Over the coming weeks and months, the province will meet with operators and organizations to determine how to act on the strategy from marketing and product development perspectives, and how the industry might be changed.”
Tourism companies on Prince Edward Island – Hiring practices
Top 10 things tourism employees say they like about their jobs
- Dealing with people
- Working with other tourism employees
- The opportunities
- Advancement potential
- Developing skills in demand globally
- Easy to get started
- Training opportunities
- Extra income from tips
Source – www.discovertourism.ca
Careers in tourism: Five areas of work within the tourism sector
- Accommodations: Housekeeping, front desk, general managers, and supervisors.
- Food & Beverage Services: Servers, bartenders, line cooks, chefs, kitchen staff, front end workers, supervisors and managers
- Travel Services: Visitor information counsellors and tour guides
- Transportation: Ferry boat captains, taxi drivers, and motor coach drivers
- Recreation & Entertainment: Golf courses, bike rentals, outdoor adventures, and cultural events.
“We encourage job seekers to experience the excitement and diversity of a career in tourism,” says Kathy Livingstone, Director, Training & Education, TIAPEI.
“Tourism is the largest employer in rural PEI,” says Kathy. “As well, tourism is the highest employer of youth on PEI. It’s often one of the first jobs for youth, which helps them develop essential skills for future careers. In addition, the seasonality aspect of the employment works well for them.”
“Housekeeping, line cooks, and prep cooks are all jobs that are in high demand,” says Fallon MacKinnon, Human Resource Advisor with TIAPEI. “Transportation jobs tend to attract more mature workers, many of whom are due to retire soon. In addition, outdoor adventures tourism has the capacity for a lot of growth, and could be a source for more jobs.”
Eastern PEI: a world-class tourism destination with many job options
Island East Tourism Group, located at the Rural Action Centre in Montague, is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board which promotes tourism in Kings County.
It is one of five rural regional tourism associations across the Island.
The group works with more than 670 tourism operators. In Kings County, 74 percent of businesses and individuals cater to the tourism industry.
“Kings County has pristine beaches, culinary fine dining, coastal restaurants, small towns by the shore, 10 golf courses, water experiences, marinas, outdoor adventures, scenic heritage drives, nine provincial parks, a national park, and private campgrounds,” says Patsy Gotell, Executive Director of Island East Tourism Group. “The 2016 tourism season was the most successful in the last eight years.
“We celebrate more than 35 festivals throughout the summer, as well as ceilidhs. Six lighthouses are open to the public, as well as museums, theatres with live entertainment, hotels, resorts, historic sites, and so much more that attracts thousands of visitors every year.”
Tourism attractions create employment opportunities for students, mature workers, first-time employees, and newcomers to the Island. These jobs develop and enhance employability skills and exposure to new careers.
The Island East Tourism board owns and operates the St. Peter’s Destination Centre, which has a staff of five. They also operate a welcome center in Caribou, Nova Scotia with four staff members who provide information and promote tourism in eastern PEI.
“There are tremendous employment opportunities from May to September in eastern PEI at hotels, resorts, restaurants, outdoor adventures, golf courses, festivals, retail outlets, and many other areas. The tourism season extends into late fall with culinary festivals and other events.”
Jobs in demand include housekeeping, front-end restaurant workers, and kitchen staff.
Rod Clark, Accelerated Market Readiness Program Coordinator, has been hired for a one-year term by the Island East Tourism Group.
His role is to work with tourism operators to identify goals, engage, and motivate the owners and staff by providing education materials, workshops, leadership, and guidance.
“Operators receive consulting and mentoring from a qualified tourism expert, as well as detailed suggestions on how they can become more ‘market ready’ for the future, such as business plan development, branding, web presence, professional development training, and much more.”
Best way for job seekers to approach tourism employers
Interested in opportunities in Tourism on PEI?
Tourism employers generally start the hiring process in March and April. However, there are year-round positions within the tourism sector.
“The tourism season stretches every year,” says Kathy Livingstone, TIAPEI. “September is almost as busy as the peak season in July, because of festivals such as Fall Flavours and the Shellfish Festival.”
Ways to get connected with employers in tourism:
- Check tourism employment opportunities posted at www.choosetourism.ca.
- TIAPEI will host a Tourism Job Fair in Charlottetown in March, and in Cavendish in April. A Job Fair specifically for cooks and line cooks is to be held in Charlottetown in March.
- TIAPEI hosts a number of Tourism Passport to Employment Programs for mature workers and the next will take place in Montague in February.
- TIAPEI will host a Ready to Work Program for youth with a focus on cooking and related jobs in February.
For more information about jobs, training options on PEI, and more, call 902-566-5008. Visit Tourism Industry Association of PEI www.tiapei.pe.ca.
Tourism job titles and details about the profession
See for yourself what it is like to work in the tourism industry on PEI!
Careers in Tourism – Front Desk Agent
Meet Josh. A Front Desk Agent working in Charlottetown, PEI. Let Josh show you what a day in a life of a Front Desk Agent looks like!
Careers in Tourism – Line Cook
Meet Andrew. A young man working in PEI as a Line Cook. Hear his real life stories of cooking in the industry and why he loves his job!
Careers in Tourism – Visitor Information Counsellor
Meet Robin. A Visitor Information Counsellor who provides information to visitors and absolutely loves helping people plan their dream PEI vacations.
Careers in Tourism – Housekeeping Room Attendant
Meet Rose. A young lady working in Charlottetown, PEI as a Housekeeping Room Attendant. Hear about her housekeeping stories and why she loves her fast paced job!
Careers in Tourism – Food & Beverage Server
Meet Sarah, a food and beverage server on PEI. Hear what she has to say about working in tourism, including perks, responsibilities and why she continues to stay in the industry.
New Master's program in tourism now offered at UPEI
Master of Arts – Island Studies, with a specialization in Island Tourism is a new two-year program which starts in August, 2018. It offers a graduate degree in the expanding field of tourism, applied specifically to islands throughout the world. Using primarily online courses, the program includes two work-studies with tourism organizations.
“Island tourism is one of the fastest growing global sectors,” says Jim Randall, coordinator of the Master of Arts in Island Studies at UPEI. “This new online program gives graduates a high-quality post-graduate credential targeted to students’ specific career needs.”
Employment opportunities for graduates
- Travel agency and tour operating companies
- Heritage sector
- Official tourist organizations
- Branding and marketing companies
- Local or national government
- Other local or national government or regional and international organizations where knowledge of the tourism sector is important
Scholarships and bursaries are available. For more information, contact Jim Randall, Program Coordinator, at [email protected] or 902-620-5013.
For more information about jobs, training options on PEI, and more, visit:
- Tourism Industry Association of PEI: www.tiapei.ca
- Choose Tourism: www.choosetourism.ca
- Training and certification programs for most tourism jobs: www.emerit.ca
- More information about training, jobs, and videos: www.discovertourism.ca