The European Union’s travel and tourism sector recovery is at risk unless 1.2 million jobs are filled, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council and European Travel Commission.
Vacancies are likely to remain unfilled during the busy summer period, with travel agencies predicted to be the worst hit with a 30 percent shortfall of workers.
Airlines and hotels are likely to suffer one in five unfilled vacancies, representing 21 percent and 22 percent staff shortage respectively.
“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 Julia Simpson, council president and CEO, in a statement.
In 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak, 1.7 million direct jobs were lost, they claimed. In 2021, when governments began to ease travel restrictions, the sector’s direct contribution to the European Union’s economy recovered by 30.4 percent and recovered 571,000 jobs.
This year, the council projects the sector’s recovery will continue to accelerate and almost reach pre-pandemic levels with an expected 32.9 percent increase in its direct contribution to the union’s economy.
The pair have identified six measures that governments and the private sector can implement to address the issue:
- Facilitate labour 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 — with work that is safe, fair, productive, and meaningful — to reinforce the attractiveness of the sector as a career choice and retain new talent
- Upskill and reskill talent and offer comprehensive training as well as create — to equip the workforce with new and improved skills
- Create and promote education and apprenticeships — with effective policies, and public-private collaboration, that support educational programs and apprentice-based training
- 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.
“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 added.