Urgent action needed for EU travel and tourism jobs

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) warn that the recovery of the travel and tourism sector could be seriously threatened if nearly 1.2 million jobs remain unfilled in the EU.

The challenge of summer labor shortages has been revealed by the WTTC in its latest analysis of the sector and calls for urgent action to address this critical issue.

In 2020, as the pandemic reached its peak, the travel and tourism sector in the EU suffered the loss of nearly 1.7 million jobs*.

In 2021, when governments started easing travel restrictions and traveler confidence improved, the sector’s direct contribution to the EU economy recovered by 30.4% and recovered 571,000 jobs.

This year, the WTTC expects the sector’s recovery to continue to gather pace and almost reach pre-pandemic levels with an expected 32.9% increase in its direct contribution to the EU economy.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO said: “Europe posted one of the strongest recoveries in 2021, ahead of the global average. However, current labor shortages may set back this trend and put additional pressure on an already struggling sector. .

“Governments and the private sector must come together to provide the best opportunities for people seeking the great career opportunities the travel industry offers.”

A large number of vacancies are likely to remain unfilled during the busy summer period, with travel agencies being the most affected with a 30% shortage of workers (nearly one in three vacancies not filled).

Meanwhile, the airline and hospitality segments are expected to suffer one in five vacancies, accounting for 21% and 22% staff shortages respectively.

WTTC has been at the forefront of leading the private sector in the drive to rebuild international travel since the pandemic brought international travel to its knees.

ETC worked with key stakeholders to better coordinate response measures at EU level and facilitate travel.

The WTTC and ETC have identified six actions that governments and the private sector can take to address this pressing issue:

  • Facilitate labor mobility within countries and across borders and strengthen collaboration at all levelsproviding visas and work permits
  • Enable flexible and distantyou work where possible – particularly if travel restrictions still prevent workers from moving freely across borders
  • To assure decent workprovide social services safety nets and highlight opportunities for career growth – with safe, fair, productive and meaningful work – to enhance the attractiveness of the sector as a career choice and retain new talent
  • Further training and requalification talent and provide comprehensive training as well as create – to equip the workforce with new and improved skills
  • Create and promote education and learning – with effective policies and public-private collaboration that support educational programs and apprenticeship training
  • Adopt innovative technological and digital solutions to improve day-to-day operations, as well as mobility and border security to ensure safe and smooth travel and an improved customer experience.

Luis Araujo, President of ETC said: “Europe, as the largest and most competitive tourist destination in the world, is committed to becoming the most sustainable. But the objective of the dual transition (green and digital) will only be achieved if we manage to attract and retain talent in this sector. This is one of the biggest challenges for the sector and requires coordinated, multi-level and joint (public and private) solutions. »

The two organizations believe that by implementing these measures, travel and tourism businesses will be able to attract and retain more workers.

This, in turn, would enable the sector to meet growing consumer demand and further accelerate its recovery, which is the backbone of generating economic well-being across the bloc.

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