by Heidi Riley
Tourism is vital for the economic health of PEI. The industry employs over 8,500 full-time equivalent workers and contributes more than $486 million to the provincial economy.
PEI has had another positive tourism season in 2019.
Numbers released in November by Tourism PEI show that 2019 will likely be the sixth straight record season for tourism visitation to the province.
Preliminary estimates prepared by Tourism PEI project 1.6 million visitors to the province in 2019 with direct expenditures of about $505 million – making it the first time PEI has reached $500 million in total tourism expenditures.
The province is also on pace for a new record number of overnight stays and is likely to exceed one million overnight stays for the third year in a row.
Statistics year-to-date September 2018 to September 2019
- 1.6 per cent increase in traffic on the Confederation Bridge
- 3.3 per cent increase in passenger traffic at the Charlottetown Airport
- 3.3 per cent decrease in traffic at Northumberland Ferries
- 23.8 per cent increase in cruise passengers and crew
- 1.6 per cent increase in overnight stays
- 2.6 per cent increase in non-member golf rounds
For September 2019 tourism indicators, visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/publication/monthly–tourism–indicators–0
Phyllis Duffy with the Tourism Industry Association of PEI (TIAPEI) spoke about employment opportunities during Canada Career month in November.
“In 2018, about 1.6 million people visited PEI, which is about ten times the permanent population of the Island. Most visitors are on the Island from late May until early October. During the rest of the year, PEI is busy with cruise ships, conventions, culinary festivals, the Jack Frost festival, hockey tournaments, and many other events.
“The cruise ship industry has grown tremendously. In 2018, 97 cruise ships visited PEI with 146,000 passengers and 63,000 crew members. Up to four cruise ships can dock in Charlottetown at one time. In 2018, they contributed about $225 million to the PEI economy.” Jobs related to the cruise ship industry include those in restaurants, retail, and travel services.
“Six point four percent of PEI’s GDP comes from tourism, which is the highest in Canada. Tourism revenues from taxes fund healthcare, education, and other public services for Islanders.”
Five sectors of tourism industry, examples, and jobs within
- Accommodations: hotels, motels, inns, resorts, campgrounds.
Jobs: bell hop, laundry, room attendants, maintenance, front desk, spa attendants, supervisors, managers.
- Food and beverage services: restaurants, food trucks, pubs.
Jobs: banquet server, dishwasher, busser, host, server, bartender, chef, sous chef, prep cook, line cook, supervisors, managers.
- Recreation and entertainment: live theatre and music events, golf courses, provincial and federal parks.
Jobs: customer service, actor, stage manager, ticket sales, costume mistress, rides attendants, golf attendants, events organizer.
- Transportation services: touring companies, car rental agencies.
Jobs: bus driver, taxi driver, ticket sales, maintenance, car rental agent, port staff, ferry staff, maintenance, tour operators.
- Travel services: Provincial Welcome Centres, Meetings and Conventions PEI.
Jobs: tour guides, retail staff, administrative staff.
“Eighty-one percent of PEI visitors have been here before. People return to PEI for the beaches, wineries, culinary events, Anne of Green Gables, visiting relatives, and golf. Quebecers visit PEI for our great beaches, feast on our Island food, and visit our Acadian attractions en route to the ferry in Souris to the Magdalen Islands. American visitation goes up when the exchange rate is most favourable to them.
“They will return if they have been given good, friendly service the first time they visited, and that service depends on those working in tourism. Repeat customers are great ambassadors to encourage others to visit.”
What does it take to work in tourism?
- Eagerness to learn
- Team player
- Problem solver
- Math skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Customer service focus
Finding work during the off season
“Through the summer, students fill many of the open positions in tourism. For the rest of the year, especially the busy Christmas season, there are opportunities for work in restaurants, retail, and special events. I encourage job seekers to speak to the proprietors of businesses that are open, and ask if they have any openings, especially for the busy weekends.”
“Most people start at entry level positions such as a server, clerk, laundry, or kitchen worker. As you gain experience and perhaps take some tourism courses, your employer may move you to a management position. If you show promise, many tourism businesses are willing to train you to take on more responsibility.”
Training in tourism
Holland College offers a number of tourism-related programs in tourism and travel management and at the Culinary Institute of Canada. Visit www.hollandcollege.com and search programs.
Visit www.tiapei.pe.ca and click Professional Development to find out about emerit courses that can advance your understanding and knowledge of tourism jobs such as Tour Guide, Front Desk Agent, Supervisor, Taxicab and Limousine Driver, Food & Beverage Server, and many more.
Click Programs and Projects to find out about tourism training programs that offer a combination of classroom time and on the job training, such as:
- Passport to Employment offers tourism training for people ages 55 and older. A new program starts February 10, 2020.
- Ready to Work Youth program
Attending a tourism job fair is another great way to find out about jobs in tourism. Two job fairs are held every spring.
- March 7, 2020 – Delta Hotel
- April 18, 2020 – North Shore: location to be determined
Be prepared for these job fairs by bringing a resumé listing your past experience.