According to a recent analysis by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Tourism Commission (ETC), the recovery of the travel and tourism sector could be seriously threatened if the EU is short of nearly 1.2 million tourism workers.
Such a severe shortage of summer labor, shown in the latest WTTC report, implies urgent action. In 2020, as the pandemic reached its peak, the travel and tourism sector in the EU suffered nearly 1.7 million job losses.
In 2021, as governments began easing travel restrictions and traveler confidence rose, the sector’s direct contribution to the EU economy rose by 30.4%, restoring 571,000 jobs.
The recovery of the sector will continue to accelerate this year, and it will almost reach pre-pandemic levels, with an expected increase in direct contribution to the EU economy by 32.9%, according to WTTC forecasts.
Julia Simpson, President, and CEO of WTTC said: “Europe posted one of the strongest recoveries in 2021, earlier than the global average. However, the current labor shortage could delay this trend and put additional pressure on an already distressed part of the. Governments and the private sector must come together to offer the best opportunities to people who are looking for career opportunities that the tourism industry has to offer.”
Shortage of tourism workers
According to the study, a large number of vacancies are estimated to remain open during the busy summer period, and travel agencies are expected to suffer the most, with a shortage of workers of 30% (nearly one in three open positions).
Meanwhile, the airline and hospitality segments are expected to be hit by one in five job openings, equivalent to 21% and 22% staff shortages respectively.
WTTC, ETC has identified six actions that governments and the private sector can take to address this urgent and important issue, such as promoting labor mobility within countries; allowing flexible and remote work, ensuring decent work, creating social safety nets, and highlighting opportunities for career advancement or upskilling and retraining of talent by providing them with a full course of study.