Barbadians have responded in large numbers to get the opportunity to work on Royal Caribbean Group cruise liners in the upcoming winter season.
Over the past three days, hundreds turned up at the Wildey Gymnasium for a job fair, hosted by Royal Caribbean in partnership with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., to be interviewed for a wide range of positions.
Royal Caribbean is expected to staff several ships homeporting in the Caribbean, including Mariner of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas.
Senior Business Development Officer, Cruise Department, at the BTMI, Tia Broomes, told Barbados TODAY the job fair was aimed at empowering Barbadians to seek employment opportunities in the cruise industry.
She reported that a high rate of persons who attended the fair successfully passed their interviews.
“Most of the candidates who would have gone through the process were successful in being offered a position on board across various aspects – from the very high-profile positions right away down the line and we are very pleased about that,” Broomes said, disclosing that individuals were accepted for positions in restaurant service, shore excursions, entertainment, medical, and marine.
“We don’t have all the numbers as yet, but we had the initial applications and then we vetted that down based on the set criteria. So, after the vetting process, there were about 1600 applicants that we were targeting. “This is just the first iteration; this is not the end of it so over time we are hoping that about 2 000 Barbadians will be employed between Royal Caribbean and the Celebrity brand,” the BTMI official added.
She said that while applicants must be 21 years or older, there were people as young as 18 submitting applications and they were encouraged to reapply when they became of age.
“We know that through a lot of our institutions on island that Barbadians are well educated and they are well trained, especially in the hospitality area given that tourism is obviously our business.
“So we are happy that they are able to go out in the industry and garner the experience overseas working on vessels, visiting different ports, and engaging with people from other destinations. We know onboard you get crew from different countries around the world,” Broomes said.
When Barbados TODAY visited the job fair on Thursday, job hopefuls opted not to speak to the media for personal reasons.
While at a cruise conference in May this year, Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Royal Caribbean International, aimed at generating opportunities for high-quality employment in the local tourism industry.
The MOU paved the way for the Government and Royal Caribbean to work together to create cruise-related job opportunities for locals.
Minister Cummins said at the time that the MOU was timely, as it fed into the Government’s greater purpose for tourism, which is creating jobs for Barbadians to take the country’s industry forward in a sustainable way. (AH)