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Tourism Bodies Urge Actions to Address Shortfall of Workers in EU

Photo source: WTTC

Photo source: WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) warned recently that actions must be taken immediately to address the shortfall in workers.

According to a joint statement, 1.2 million jobs across the EU will remain unfilled unless urgent action is taken putting at risk the travel and tourism sector’s recovery.

“Europe showed one of the strongest recoveries in 2021, ahead of the global average. However, current shortages of labor can delay this trend and put additional pressure on an already embattled sector,” said WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson.

Woman Washing Hands With Alcohol Gel At Reception Counter

Photo: Shutterstock

Indicatively, the travel agency segment is set to be worst hit by a 30 percent shortage of staff this summer while the air transport and accommodation segments are likely to suffer one in five unfilled vacancies, accounting for 21 percent and 22 percent of staff shortages, respectively.

Proposed measures

To address the issue, the two bodies have proposed the implementation of the following measures by governments and private enterprise as part of efforts to attract and retain more workers:

facilitate labor mobility within countries and across borders and strengthen collaboration at all levels, providing visas and work permits
enable flexible and remote working where feasible – particularly if travel restrictions still prevent workers from moving freely across borders
ensure decent work, provide social safety nets and highlight career growth opportunities to reinforce the attractiveness of the sector as a career choice and retain new talent
upskill and reskill talent and offer comprehensive training
create and promote education and apprenticeships
adopt innovative technological and digital solutions to improve daily operations, as well as mobility and border security to ensure safe and seamless travel and an enhanced customer experience.

According to WTTC data, in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, the sector across the EU suffered the loss of almost 1.7 million jobs. A year later, in 2021, the sector recovered 571,000 jobs.

“Governments and the private sector need to come together to provide the best opportunities for people looking for the great career opportunities that the travel sector offers,” Simpson said.

“The goal of the twin transition (green and digital) will only be achieved if we succeed in attracting and retaining talent for this sector. This is one of the biggest challenges for the sector and needs coordinated, multi-layered and joint (public and private) solutions,” said ETC President Luis Araujo.

Meanwhile, in Greece, tourism businesses are still short of staff with at least 2,430 job openings available in late June.

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