The role of tourism development and of HRD in the tourism sector in promoting economic growth in Eritrea.
Eritrea is a young state and a developing country faced with major problems and constraints, one of which is a shortage of professional, skilled and semi-skilled human resources. With the country's considerable and diverse attractions, tourism is a promising option for economic development in Eritrea. The objective of this research paper is to examine the role of human resource development in contributing to the creation of a modem and internationally competitive tourism sector in Eritrea, as well as increasing tourism 's contribution to ecenomic growth and sustainable develepment. Tourism is one of the major socio-economic sectors of the world and is also a rapidly growing sector. However, it has both positive and negative impacts. In order to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts, most countries now are opting for responsible tourism or sustainable tourism development. Not all countries and regions have benefited equally from tourism, and competition in the tourism market is fierce, especially for small countries and new entrants like Eritrea. One of the factors for optirnising the contribution made by tourism is human resource development (HRD) in the tourism industry. This paper investigates how the economic contribution of tourism can be increased, and suggests approaches to revitalizing the human resources of the tourism sector, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The study shows how HRD can play a vital role in supporting tourism development and ensuring the continuous supply of quality human resources to meet the industry's growing requirements. Based on human capital theory in relation to the tourism industry, and considering the sector's special employment characteristics, it presents a comprehensive analysis and assessment of current tourism human resources in Eritrea in terms of various HRD variables such as education, training, experience, and foreign language competence. The results indicate that significant gaps exist between the supply of and demand for human resources as the tourism industry grows in Eritrea. The findings reveal that all-round training is required across the spectrum of tourism occupations, places, levels of management and stakeholders including the public at large. The lack of trainers and training infrastructure is identified as a key factor responsible for inadequate professionalism in the Eritrean tourism industry. As a result, the study identifies specific policies, strategies and recommendations to be adopted if Eritrea is to be in a position to face the challenges posed by international tourism competition.