ITP Members at Davos: “We will help reshape the world”

Hilton commits to 'Open Doors' for one million young people

Hilton commits to 'Open Doors' for one million young people

Green Hotelier Talking Point: Employment Opportunities and Work Inclusion.

International Tourism Partnership (ITP) members Hilton Worldwide and Marriott have pledged to help ‘reshape the world’ with more inclusive employment opportunities for young people.

Lack of information, misjudgement and preconception are the biggest barriers preventing young people from connecting to careers.

Meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF) event at Davos this week, CEOs of both international hotel companies have committed to helping change the future for our young people.

The theme for WEF 2014 is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business” and global thought leaders are setting their minds to the task in hand.

“Our travel industry has been at the heart of ‘Reshaping the World,” says Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. “Leaders increasingly see that travel is trade, and enabling greater mobility creates jobs, opportunity and economic prosperity at home. We have a tremendous chance to energise the global economy by working together to help implement smart travel policies. These policies - including smart visas and smart airports - encourage easier travel throughout the world and increase the need for jobs.”

Chairing the industry session, Sorenson made the following points:

  • 1 in 11 jobs globally (260 million) are supported by travel and tourism (according to UNWTO and WTTC).
  • In the next ten years the sector will account for 10 percent of global GDP.
  • Addressing youth unemployment, Marriott supports programmes that help train and employ thousands of disadvantaged youth in 75 percent of the 74 countries in which the company operates hotels.
  • In the U.S., through a partnership with the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, Bridges from School to Work, Marriott will have placed the 20,000th youth in mainstream employment by year end.
  • Outside the U.S., Marriott is engaged with several programmes including the ITP’s Youth Career Initiative and World of Opportunity Europe which combined has helped to train and employ nearly 1,000 students in Asia, Europe, Caribbean & Latin America and Middle East & Africa.

At the event Hilton Worldwide also made a huge commitment to ‘Open Doors’ for one million young people.

They explain: Research shows that many young people face a grim socioeconomic reality. More than 74 million worldwide are unemployed and nearly 290 million - more than a quarter of our planet's young people - are neither working nor studying. Travel and tourism is the world's single largest employer, accounting for almost 10 percent of global employment, and it is expected to generate 73 million new jobs by 2022. But simply creating more jobs will not be enough to address the issue if young people are not equipped with the range of skills needed to succeed in today's complex marketplace.

Acknowledging this the company made a global commitment that aims to impact at least one million young people by 2019 by helping them to reach their full potential. This new initiative will open doors for young people in three ways:

  • Connecting them to the world of travel by enabling them to experience new cultures, contributing to the improvement of the sustainability of the industry and shaping their future with opportunities in Hilton Worldwide's expansive supply chain;
  • Preparing them for success in the world of work, travel and beyond by supporting their basic needs and developing their life and professional skills with mentorships, apprenticeships and Hilton Worldwide's innovative career awareness programme, Careers@HiltonLive; and
  • Employing them across all divisions of the business across more than 4,000 owned, managed and franchised hotels worldwide.

Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide said, “We have been opening our doors to millions of guests for nearly a century. This pledge is a natural extension of our promise to create meaningful opportunities for the next generation of Team Members, guests and business partners.”

Hilton Worldwide will therefore focus the majority of its corporate responsibility efforts on programmes and partners that connect, prepare and employ young people around the world.  From supporting young entrepreneurs by connecting them to training, certification and markets, to preparing the next generation of hospitality leaders, Hilton will work with a range of global and local partners to help one million young people over the next five years.

Last year, Hilton Worldwide issued an industry-wide call to action in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to help prevent a ‘lost generation’ by building awareness and creating opportunities for young people in the hospitality industry.

Changing perceptions of career opportunities in the travel and tourism industry is a key priority for Hilton and the sector. A recent report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that lack of information, misjudgement and preconception are some of the biggest barriers preventing young people from connecting to careers in the industry. This, coupled with a talent gap - especially in the area of life and soft skills - often make it challenging for the hospitality industry to find the right candidates to meet its needs.

“The talent gap is one of the most important issues facing businesses, governments and communities today, and it is a direct contributor to the youth unemployment rate,” said Nassetta. “As one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, we are in a unique position to leverage our size, scale and expertise to close the gap and address this critical issue in a meaningful way. The success of our business depends on the success of the next generation.”


The commitment builds upon Travel with Purpose, Hilton Worldwide's global corporate responsibility strategy to create shared value for the communities, business and environment in which they operate.  It brings together a range of existing programmes and company resources around the world that connect, prepare and engage young people including:

Careers@HiltonLive, Youth in Hospitality Month: A month-long awareness campaign where hotels connect with young people via job fairs, career guidance talks, and job shadowing to learn about careers in hospitality. In 2013 hotels across Europe hosted over 320 events reaching more than 20,000 young people.

Bright Blue Futures: The programme, led by the company's flagship brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts, encourages Team Members to donate their time and expertise to help young people achieve stability and bring hope to their communities, preparing them for a brighter future. The programme launched last year at the World Economic Forum.

Apprenticeship Programmes: Widespread skills and training programmes at properties across Europe and Asia including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, China and the UK.

School Partnerships: Relationships with more than 50 hospitality schools and universities around the world to prepare the next generation of talent.

Professional Development Programmes: Comprehensive hands-on accelerated training programmes that help train the next generation of hospitality leaders.

Life and Soft Skills Trainings: Life skills training programme leveraging IYF's Passport to Success. To date, the company rolled out the training programme in Saudi Arabia and South Africa and plans to launch a version globally in 2014.

Teaching Kids to CARE: For more than a decade, DoubleTree by Hilton Team Members have connected young people to opportunities to learn about sustainability, encouraging them to be engaged global citizens.

"One of the most impactful actions that a company can take is to develop a comprehensive commitment that is both widely accessible and scalable," said William Reese, president and CEO, the International Youth Foundation. "This challenge of preparing young people for the workforce is one that no single industry or company can address - it requires cross-sector collaboration and strategic investments."

More information about Hilton Worldwide's global commitment to open doors for young people is available at

At Marriott, as well as targeting women in emerging markets, Sorenson also discussed:

  • The company’s expansion into Africa and the opportunity for helping to spur economic growth in Africa’s emerging economies through tourism and new employment.
  • Marriott’s completed formal agreements, first announced late last year, to acquire Protea Hotels’ brands and its management business that operates or franchises 116 hotels across three brands with more than 10,000 rooms in South Africa and six other Sub-Saharan African countries. Protea is  based in South Africa; transaction closing is expected April 1.
  • The result will nearly double Marriott’s distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms and including hotels already in the pipeline for future  openings will make Marriott the largest hotel company on the continent.
  • Marriott will also become a significant employer in South Africa and foresees potential through the growth of its business and the new platform for hotel expansions to create new employment opportunities.

Would you like to offer more inclusive employment opportunities for young people at your hotel? Visit the Youth Career Initiative website to see how you can get involved.


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