According to a recent analysis led by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and European Travel Commission (ETC), the travel and tourism sector’s recovery could be put at serious risk if almost 1.2 million tourism workers were missed across the EU.
This challenging scarcity of summer manpower shown in the latest WTTC report implies an emergency action. In 2020, when the pandemic was at its apex, the travel and tourism sector in the EU suffered the loss of almost 1.7 million workplaces.
In 2021, when governments began easing travel restrictions and travelers’ confidence improved, the direct contribution of the sector to the EU economy rose by 30.4%, recovering 571,000 workplaces.
According to WTTC forecasts, the sector’s recovery will continue to accelerate this year and it will almost reach the pre-pandemic levels with an expected increase of 32.9% in the direct contribution to the EU economy.
Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC, said: “Europe showed one of the strongest recoveries in 2021, earlier than the entire world average. However, the current labor shortage may delay this trend and put further pressure on an already distressed part. Governments and the private sector must unite in order to offer the best opportunities to people who are seeking the career opportunities that the travel industry could offer.”
The 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 be the most affected with a 30% shortage of workers (almost one in three open positions).
Meanwhile, the air transport and hospitality segments are expected to suffer from one in five open positions, respectively equivalent to 21% and 22% staff shortages.
The Sector’s Measures
The WTTC and ETC have identified six measures that governments and the private sector can implement in order to address this urgent and important problem like facilitating labor mobility within countries; allowing flexible and remote working, ensuring dignified work, providing social safety nets and highlighting career growth opportunities or upgrading and retraining talents by offering them a complete training.