Midnight Musings from our CEO
What is keeping me up at night is not a new story for our industry but it is one that requires, careful thought, immediate attention and creative solutions. Tourism operators have been experiencing labour shortages for many years now, it was something we were warned would occur and something that has and will continue to cause challenges in a wide variety of industry positions. Initially shortages were apparent in areas such as housekeeping, front desk and front line serving staff however more recently it is our restaurant kitchens that are being seriously affected. Line cooks, sous chefs, chefs de cuisine, “the Chefs” are missing in our kitchens and that actually means something is not cooking!
In speaking with individuals such as Jonathon Rouse at Okanagan College, there are a number of factors that need to be considered as we work together to solve this alarming situation. One key for the longer term is training and education which will assist in expanding the pool of talent but that requires employers to work with our various institutes allowing /encouraging employees to enroll in apprentice courses; something that is not happening currently. Classes are being cancelled and students seats lost to other faculties, seats the will be harder and harder to get back if we don’t work together to fill them.
More immediately some of our shortages could be addressed by our neighbours to the east, in Alberta, where an abundance of food and beverage staff including chefs are looking for work and more than willing to relocate to our region, however finding a place to live is the number one drawback to this possible solution. Solving high season housing concerns needs our attention and any possible options should not be ruled out. Some have talked about a program to have seniors host workers for the summer in their homes, is there options for tiny housing or old school conversions, transportation support from larger centres to smaller ones….there are no “bad ideas” as we work through this process.
Our food and beverage industry is a vital part out the region, our story, our brand and our success. It is not impossible to turn this situation around but it does require innovative thinking for the short term and the collective efforts of strategic planning for the future.
We invite your comments and ideas on helping to keep our kitchens cooking! I don’t know about you but if I didn’t eat out…well…I likely wouldn’t eat much at all!
A Few Highlights from this Week’s News Centre…
With dining in mind here are a few great spots to try this summer. The Grist Mill is presenting a Sunday night dinner series that is sure to make you want to leave your kitchen (read more); Monte Creek Winery will be offering Friday and Saturday night dining until 8 pm (read more); Eating at home?? Buy Local BC has released its Thompson Okanagan 2017 map featuring over 50 participants in the Thompson-Shuswap and over 75 in the Okanagan (read more)
Join us for this year’s Golf Tournament August 29th, 2017 at the Golf Course at Sun Peaks Resort. All registered participants are eligible to win 2 passes on Air Canada to anywhere they fly in North America including Hawaii. To register for this years tournament click here.
Read all of this week’s News Centre stories at news.totabc.org
We hope you keep following and contributing on TOTA’s Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the week; send us your stories, photos, events and remarkable experiences. Make sure the industry knows what is happening around our region and be sure to use #route97 and #explorebc when posting your tourism shots and stories from around the region.