Out of the IDF and into tour duty

IDF soldiers trained to be next generation hotel and tourism managers.

dan hotel tel aviv 88 (photo credit: )
dan hotel tel aviv 88
(photo credit: )
In a joint effort, the Tourism, Defense and Industry, Trade and Labor ministries launched a project in an attempt to attract IDF soldiers coming out of the army to become integrated in the tourism industry. In anticipation of the arrival of five million tourists by 2012, the ministries decided to offer discharged soldiers certain incentives with the aim of integrating them into the departments of the local tourism industry that suffer from a shortage in manpower. "Integrating discharged soldiers in the tourism industry is in line with the department's efforts to prevent the brain drain from Israel," said Haim Oman, chairman of the department of discharged soldiers. "The cooperation will start as soon as the satisfying employing conditions of the discharged soldiers are achieved." The Tourism Ministry believes that integrating discharged soldiers in the industry will assist improving its image, since the recruited manpower will be offered professional training for free. These young workers, the ministry added, will represent the reserve of the next generation of managers in Israel's hotels and tourist attractions. Both the Tourism Ministry and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry will hold employment fairs via the department of discharged soldiers in the Defense Ministry. Under the conditions of the project, the department of discharged soldiers will finance the courses and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry will finance the participation fee in these courses. "We believe that financing the courses will constitute as a good bridge for the soldiers into civilian life," Oman added. At the same time, the Tourism Ministry is striving to improve the employment conditions of the professional workers at Israel's hotels. "About 80,000 workers were directly employed in the Tourism Industry during 2007 and a few several hundred of thousands of workers indirectly. About 30,000 workers were employed solely in the hoteliery sector, mainly in the peripheries. The entrance of trained and skilled new workers to the industry will help overcoming the shortage of 4,500 workers and will open long-term employment opportunities for discharged soldiers," said Shaul Tzemach, director-general of the Tourism Ministry.