By Morgan Hughes-Davies
Feb. 23, 2012
Despite stagnant tourism numbers last year, hundreds of people showed up to the Feb. 23 tourism job fair in Charlottetown looking for work.
In 2009, tourism numbers saw 1.29 million people visiting the Island, in 2010 that number had dropped to 1.3 million.
The job fair was held to give people a chance to see what jobs are available in the P.E.I. tourist industry.
Hotels, restaurants and amusement parks such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Holman Grand Hotel and Best Western set up stalls in the Culinary Centre cafeteria to advertise job openings while culinary students treated passersby to ice cream and cherries from a bowl in the corner.
Maxine Delaney, representing the Pearl, a restaurant on Green Gables Shore Drive, said the fair was a great networking opportunity.
“It’s a wonderful social atmosphere and we get to meet all kinds of people coming through from high school students to newcomers and culinary students, so it’s a great opportunity to meet a little bit of everybody interested in the industry.”
Last year was a busy time for her restaurant, she said.
“I have no qualms about last season at all. I feel that tourism numbers will fluctuate a little bit from year, but the reality is, if you produce a good product in a wonderful province that makes people happy, then maybe this season more people will come because of it.”
Ashley Hansen, the organizer of the fair, said the fair was successful in getting job seekers and employers to socialize.
“I think we had over 900 people show up. It’s kind of a good opportunity for job seekers and employers to connect.”
There would be another fair held later this year in Summerside, she said.
“I think this year was a success and we look forward to putting it on again.”
The lack of new visitors to P.E.I. can be attributed to a bad economy and rough weather, said Mary Moszynski, the communications officer for the tourism department.
“Our minister has spoken to the fact that there were economic problems and bad weather which led to softer traffic numbers.”
The fair was the result of a partnership between Holland College and the Tourism Association of P.E.I., or TAIPEI. The fair featured 27 booths representing 50 companies.
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