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25th Institute of Hospitality Awards more critical than ever to help stem tourism staff shortages

25th Institute of Hospitality Awards more critical than ever to help stem tourism staff shortages

25 years of excellence in Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector were remembered in this week’s launch of the Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism. Pictured here left to right: Denis Broderick, Marianne Hood, Chair of Institute of Hospitality, industry leader Lara Morgan and the first ever winner of the Hospitality Professional of the Year in 1995, John Toner

25th Institute of Hospitality Awards more critical than ever to help stem tourism staff shortages

Ali Askir, restaurateur, founder of the Irish Curry Awards and leader of the South Asian community in Northern Ireland, Marianne Hood, chair of the Institute of Hospitality and Lisa Toland of Belfast City Council mark the launch of the 25th Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism in the Clayton Hotel, Belfast.

The crisis affecting Northern Ireland’s “super successful” tourism sector through staff shortages has been highlighted at the launch of the 25th Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism.

Dramatic drops in numbers of chefs, restaurant managers, hotel managers and serving staff are being predicted by businesses across Northern Ireland as the single most concerning aspect of the industry.

Institute of Hospitality Northern Ireland Branch chair, Marianne Hood, says the predicted exodus of foreign workers has to be balanced with additional encouragement for locals to join the industry.

“Without the hospitality sector, our super successful tourism industry would be a non-starter,” says Ms Hood. “Accommodation providers, restaurants and bars are the pulsating heart of our visitor experience, the very essence of Northern Ireland.

“While Northern Ireland continues to take great strides forward as a competitive destination with world class and widely recognised food and drink offers as well as top quality accommodation, the risk lies in recruitment, staff retention and the people we need.

“Hospitality is not just about the people. It is about trained, skilled professionals who know how to marry our natural sense for hospitality to commercially successful standards. Most people in this business agree that the key challenge is getting trained and skilled personnel across all functions.

“Brexit has shown how reliant our sector is on the ability of people to move here for work.”

The Institute of Hospitality recently published a report which shows the seven hospitality roles most at risk of a staff shortage from Brexit according to industry workers in management positions or business owners are:

    1. Waiter / Waitress (80%)
    2. Bartender / Barista (64%)
    3. Host (48%)
    4. Hotel Concierge (34%)
    5. Chef (26%)
    6. Restaurant Manager (17%)
    7. Hotel Manager (10%)

The 25th Awards for Professionalism will be judged by a team of panellists and the announcement made at a gala dinner on May 15 2020 in the Crowne Plaza, Belfast.

Participants are encouraged to go to the www. iohniawards.com website for further details.

The deadline for entries is 10 February 2020 and judging will take place on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 March 2020. The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony will be at Crowne Plaza Belfast on Friday 15th May 2020.

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