The tourism sector’s self-image suffered during the past three months, according to a business perception survey by the Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP).
The union’s quarterly business survey found that though the trade, financial and industrial sectors saw results above the average Business Perception Index of 6.6, the tourism industry saw a “bad” perception index rating of 4.2, according to a statement.
Of the seven productive sectors surveyed, only construction and industry saw an increase.
The survey was taken in October, a month in which protests in the nation’s two biggest ports on the Caribbean coast raised costs for sectors that rely on the ports, such as tourism and agriculture (TT, Nov. 3)
The financial sector saw a drop in its index due to the implementation of a new exchange rate system (TT, Oct. 13, 20), though the sector’s index is still above the index average.
Of those businesses surveyed, 39% said technicians are the hardest workers to find, followed by professionals with college degrees. Those surveyed said a lack of skills such as the ability to speak English, a general shortage of workers, and high salary demands – particularly from college graduates – are the principal obstacles to finding employees.
Businesses reported similar employment levels from previous quarters and don’t expect large employment changes in the last quarter of 2006.
The union, which represents 41 private business chambers, has been conducting the survey, which consults 400 businesses, for 10 years. The survey asks businesses to evaluate key variables such as production, sales, exports and employment.