07 Mar 2023

Tourism and hospitality industry comes together to launch ‘Make it Here’ campaign

Campaign will showcase benefits of pursuing a career in the sector

Pictured launching the Make it Happen campaign in Belfast are (L-R): Joel Neill, Hospitality Ulster; Caitriona Lennox, Springboard; Vicky Green, NI Hotels Federation; Roisin McKee, HATS network; David Roberts, Tourism NI; and Judith Owens, NI Tourism Alliance.

Northern Ireland’s leading tourism and hospitality organisations have come together to launch an exciting new campaign designed to encourage people to consider a career in the industry.

Employers in the sector were today urged to get involved in the first phase of Make it Here, a multimedia campaign that will shine a light on the industry, showcasing the unique benefits of a career in tourism and hospitality.  

The campaign is being led by Tourism Northern Ireland and supported by key industry bodies such as Hospitality and Tourism Skills (HATS) network, Hospitality Ulster, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance, Springboard, Bus & Coach NI and a range of employers. It seeks to build on ongoing initiatives by industry bodies to change perceptions of careers in the industry.

Tourism generates an estimated £1bn in visitor spend for the economy each year and accounts for one in every 12 jobs, with 65,000 people working in tourism and hospitality. But the sectors have faced significant skills shortages in recent years, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Research undertaken by Tourism NI last year found that recruitment and retention was the biggest challenge cited by employers in the industry, alongside the cost of doing business. Separate research with HATS revealed that many people in Northern Ireland don’t consider a career in tourism or hospitality because of negative perceptions about issues such as job security and long hours.

Make it Here hopes to address those perceptions and highlight positive aspects of working in the industry that are usually overlooked, such as career progression opportunities, flexible working hours and the sociable nature of many roles. It will target new entrants to the job market but also career switchers and part time or seasonal workers, such as retirees considering a return to work. 

David Roberts, Director of Strategic Development, Tourism NI said: “Tourism and hospitality is an industry that is based on people and this campaign is about getting more people to consider a career in the sector by showing not only the variety of roles but other benefits the sector offers, like working in special places, flexible hours to suit your lifestyle, meeting interesting people and making their day.

“Tourism NI recognises the challenges that exist when it comes to recruitment, retention and the perception of the industry. We want to make it a career of choice by showing that there are exciting opportunities for people to do something they love for a living.”

Roisin McKee, Director of the HATS network, said: “I’d like to invite all employers in the sector to be part of our new campaign Make it Here to showcase their vacancies and attract great people to our industry. The campaign will be putting a spotlight on the benefits our industry offers and hopes to inspire more people to consider a career in this vibrant sector. There are incredible opportunities for people to join tourism and hospitality and secure a rewarding career with fantastic progression potential, but a lot of people don’t realise the huge diversity of fulfilling roles on offer. Employers are looking for people with personality and passion who above all want to play a part in making someone’s day.”

Joel Neill, Operations Director, Hospitality Ulster said: “There has never been a better time to focus on attracting and retaining talent in the hospitality and tourism industry. Hospitality offers a wide range of flexible and diverse employment- and indeed career- opportunities which are central to the wider tourism offer in Northern Ireland. It’s an exciting sector with a lot of perks, benefits, and opportunities for progression and it’s important that we continue to spread the word through initiatives like Make it Here.”

Janice Gault, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, said: “The Tourism & Hospitality sector offers lots of opportunity and it is great that we can highlight the many roles available. By working in collaboration, we can do much to improve the industry image and showcase the variety of jobs on offer. The hotel sector is part of an industry which supports over 60,000 jobs and has much to offer economically and socially to secure a better future for Northern Ireland.”

Judith Owens, Chair of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance, said: “As the voice for tourism in Northern Ireland, NITA firmly endorses the Make it Here campaign. In particular we welcome the wider practical supports for tourism employers across Northern Ireland to better recruit and retain great people. Tourism offers a huge range of roles, clear career progression opportunities as well as flexibility and we welcome the collaboration to shine a light on this very important sector.”

Caitriona Lennox, Head of Northern Ireland at the Springboard Charity, said: “We are delighted to support our partner Tourism Northern Ireland on further activity in the promotion of careers in hospitality and tourism through the Make it Here campaign. This is extremely complementary to our recent roadshow events across Northern Ireland where we targeted hundreds of school students, helping them to start making important decisions about their futures and opening their eyes to the broad range of careers available within hospitality, leisure, and tourism. We welcome this combined industry support to build a pipeline of talent for our hospitality and tourism businesses. ”

Employers in the tourism and hospitality industry are being encouraged to get involved in the campaign and a dedicated toolkit will be available for the first phase of the campaign. The toolkit will feature the campaign logos and suggestions for businesses on how to use these in their own recruitment to actively promote their vacancies during the campaign period. A new website www.makeyourcareer.co.uk will showcase the range of careers available and signpost interested applicants to a range of job sites.

The Make it Here campaign aims to not only shift perceptions of what it’s like to work in Tourism and Hospitality but also benefit employers by driving an increase in the overall number and quality of applications for roles and helping them retain the good people they already employ.

Find out more

Make it Here! Careers in Tourism & Hospitality

The toolkit for employers can be accessed here along with a range of other supports such as a free People Health Check for employers.

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