CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee – There are more signs of Chattanooga and the surrounding areas coming out of the pandemic with an increase in hiring in the hospitality and tourism industry.
“It’s a chance to be part of the rebuilding of our economy locally,” said CEO of the Chattanooga Tourism Company Barry White.
In Hamilton County, leisure and hospitality businesses have continued to add jobs consistently since the height of the COVID-19 shut down a year ago, according to U.S. BLS data.
“Pandemic was, it was very tough on us. One in three hospitality jobs were lost during the shutdown last year,” said White.
The tourism industry’s employment levels are still down about 12 percent from pre-pandemic but White said more and more tourism-based companies continue to post jobs and hire for an expected tourism resurgence.
“Well, the recovery is coming a little bit faster than anyone anticipated I think. It’s really a chance for people, job seekers to be part of the action with the visitors and what happens as we enter the tourism season, Memorial Day and into the summer,” said White.
Rock City, Ruby Falls, Tennessee Aquarium, and Chattanooga Zoo are just some of the tourism companies hiring.
“Yes, there are server jobs there are bartenders or front desk workers, but at the same time, we have some interesting positions like a zookeeper or an ice cream maker. Even an ultralight pilot at the hand gliding flight parks. So, we really have a wide variety of opportunities in this industry,” said White.
He said as more people start traveling again, Chattanooga and the surrounding areas will experience a surge in business.
“Travel and hospitality is big industry to our community. About 30,000 people are employed and when people travel, they bring new money into our community and they invest it and they spend it at our businesses,” said White.