Column Spotlight: Tourism Connection

Darlene Grant Fiander
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TOPIC: Good jobs or bad jobs — it depends on your perspective

Darlene Grant Fiander - Tourism Connection

(Originally published in the June 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)

With Nova Scotia facing an impending skills shortage and with a growing aging population, the most serious challenge facing tourism will be finding enough skilled workers. Providing the right type of work environment and benefits will be crucial for business owners trying to retain talent. Focusing on opportunities for professional development and career recognition will help to minimize employee turnover and enable workers to stay in the province.  

Tourism employs more than 40,000 Nova Scotians according to Statistics Canada and yet, the tourism industry struggles for recognition as an important economic driver for the province.

Additionally, tourism’s role in the economy, as a provider of part time and seasonal work, has been perceived as a negative. Instead of celebrating the important role tourism plays in supporting the large student workforce and part-time options for many families, it has created an impression of producing low-value jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth as many Nova Scotians have built successful careers in one of the 400 tourism occupations.

In rural communities throughout this province, tourism is the largest and most significant employer, reaching well beyond economics. It supports the cultural, historical and social fabric of these regions.

Many of us began our working life in the tourism industry — in fact, 1 in 3 Canadians learned those important life and work skills in that first tourism job.

If we are ever to adequately leverage the value of tourism to the provincial economy, we need to recognize its contribution to the labour market dynamic even to the point of rethinking the attributes we value in work.  

On May 15, over 200 tourism professionals from across Nova Scotia were honoured at a dinner to recognize their achievement in obtaining National Certification in their profession. This designation is the highest industry credential for tourism professionals and we are proud that Nova Scotia boasts the largest number of certified tourism employees per capita in Canada.  

According to the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, “tourism remains one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, contributing as much to Canada’s economy as fisheries, forestry and agriculture combined, accounting for 1.6 million full-time jobs, or 10 per cent of all employment, making it the third largest job creator in the country”.

Good jobs or bad jobs — it all depends on your perspective.

Darlene Grant Fiander is president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and executive director of the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council. Darlene has worked in the tourism industry for over 25 years. You can reach Darlene at

Organizations: Nova Scotia Business Journal, Statistics Canada, Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Polly Scott
    June 09, 2012 - 09:40

    Do we have to be members in order to keep our 800#? From what we see, that is the only advantage to being members of Tians. We don't see reservations coming in through TIANS. I would just like some clarification before I pay this amount. We have been members for 12 years but I really don't see a big advantage for us. Thank You, Mrs. Polly Scott, CANDLE INN THE WINDOW B & B