WITH the onset of new hotels opening in the country, more local graduates are needed to adequately staff them.
And these graduates need to have practical and theoretical knowledge of the tourism industry before being employed.
This was the word from University of the South Pacific Hotel Management co-ordinator program Greg Cornwall.
He made the comments as students of the USP's Tourism and Hospitality Students Association (TAHSA) put their theory knowledge to use at the USP Market Day ù opening a food stall for students.
Mr Cornwall said the job market for graduates in the hospitality and tourism industry was very good however, new developments locally were making it difficult to keep up with the demand.
"Basically, you've got the new apartment hotels coming up at Naisoso, there's Taunovo Bay, Momi bay is of course there, and then we have the Casino Hotel and the new Gokals hotel that will be managed by the Warwick," Mr Cornwall said.
"If you consider those, then we need to produce more graduates to take advantage of these opportunities," he said.
He added feedback from employers of USP graduates had been good with most impressed by the calibre of the students.
Mr Cornwall said migration was another factor hindering Fiji's ability to keep up with local tourism needs.
"As we speak, there are around 500 Fijians working in the Cook Islands and that's a factor, most of our professionals are ending up going overseas," he said.
TAHSA president Veijinia Kacisolomone said the market day was a time for the students to practise their marketing, promotion and managerial skills.
Ms Kacisolomone said the stall was a means of fundraising to attend the Bilibili races in Sigatoka in October.