Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

A Parent Perspective

“When my daughter started studying in the IHG Academy almost a year ago,” began mother of Suad Mustafa, “I did not know anything about work in the hospitality sector, but I now know from Suad that it is very interesting and a comfortable work environment.”

Like Mrs. Al-Hourani, many parents are not familiar with the hospitality industry in Jordan. Lack of awareness, in part, fuels the misunderstanding and sometimes negative perceptions from the community about the industry and discourage interest in the field. Thus, tourism and hospitality has been overlooked, leaving a deficit of qualified workers to fill positions even in areas with high unemployment.

The USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project is supporting the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to directly address unemployment and support hospitality awareness in the Jordan Valley by offering youth training in food and beverage services, food production, and housekeeping that allows them to gain firsthand experience.

Mrs. Al-Hourani is aware of the varied opinions that are often associated with working in the hospitality industry, especially towards women and explained, “I do not care much about people’s opinions because I trust my children. By joining the IHG Academy my daughter is now studying and working.”

In addition to the academy, the IHG Dead Sea hotels have partnered with Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and Ghor Al-Mazraa Association to implement awareness-raising sessions and trainings that encourage other parents, community leaders and potential trainees to grasp and share the benefits of working in the hospitality industry to those around them.

Many parents shared positive perspectives on the hospitality industry and are receiving overall supportive views from their community as they express how the IHG Academy is excelling and encouraging their children while preparing them for employment.

 “I think the opportunities in the hospitality sector are abundant,” said Mrs. Al-Hourani, which alone encourages her and her husband to spread a positive outlook on the industry in their community.

The IHG Academy is not only offering training to Jordanian youth, it is giving parents the opportunity to see the impact of the hospitality industry on a personal level. As the first batch of IHG Academy trainees inch closer to graduation, they will be eligible to continue their training in level 1 of the Pathways to Professionalism Scheme as employees of the IHG Dead Sea hotels.