Tampa Bay travel industry holding job fair ahead of expected rush of tourists

Restrictions dropping around the country have people packing their bags for a summer vacation, and Tampa Bay’s airports are hiring to help meet the demand.

The job market is heating up just in time for the busiest travel season.

"We already had a 25% increase in March, so we’re looking for summer to be busy," said Michele Routh, the public relations director at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

The number of passengers walking through local airports picked up so much that dozens of people landed jobs on the spot Monday with Allegiant Airlines at St. Pete-Clearwater airport.

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"They are hiring 80 part-time positions, including both customer service representatives and the ground crew as well," said Routh.

The challenge now is to hire enough workers to handle pent-up travel demand from pandemic lockdowns.

"I would say a lot of the employers who work in the airport or the hospitality industry were caught a little bit off guard. They didn’t realize our numbers would be this good, and they didn’t realize how hard it would be to get those workers," said Emily Nipps, a spokesperson at Tampa International Airport.

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Tampa’s airport will host a job fair Tuesday, hiring more than 300 positions. The in-person part of the event is 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with no registration required, and the virtual job fair is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with registration required

"It’s definitely a good way to visit a lot of different employers and see what all the different jobs are they have to offer and talk to a lot of people in a short amount of time," said Nipps about the virtual part of the job fair.

TPA jobs range from concessions to rental car jobs, parking, management positions, aviation and more. But the competition to lure employees is fierce within the hospitality industry right now, so companies are stepping it up to get new employees in the door.

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"Things like hiring bonuses which they never offered before. Some of the companies that did not offer insurance before are now offering insurance," said Nipps.

So if you’re looking for a job, Tampa Bay’s airports want your resume.

"This is a good time to be in the travel industry. It’s really picking up a lot. And so we’re hoping that that will bring out a good turnout," said Nipps.

TPA plans to hire throughout the summer to fill positions to meet passengers’ travel needs.