Tourism chief meets Hastings Hotel Group trainees

Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen with trainees (from left) Andrew McCullough, Pearse Copeland, Aine Kelly, Margarida Periera, Amy Howard and Nicole Hardy. Picture: Jonathan Porter/Presseye

TOURISM NI chief executive John McGrillen has met trainee managers at the Grand Central Hotel as part of a skills and training programme hosted by the Hastings Hotel Group.

It comes at a time when the hospitality industry in general is struggling for new talent, which has been highlighted in the The Hotel People series currently being shown across the BBC network.

Mr McGrillen said: “Tourism is a job intensive industry and provides a wide range of employment opportunities for young people at all levels from front of house through to management and senior leadership roles.

“Across the UK, half of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 find their first job in the tourism and hospitality sectors, many of whom develop the life skills they require to move into other sectors of the economy and develop successful careers.”

He added: “One of the greatest strengths that Northern Ireland has as a tourism destination is our people who genuinely welcome visitors to our shores and go the extra mile so that visitors enjoy their time here.

“As we recover from the economic shocks of the last two years, it's vital our young people continue to have a wide range of opportunities in tourism and hospitality.

“Tourism NI will do all it can to work with business owners and leaders to address the issues and challenges ahead.”