A new research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed a massive labour shortfall, with 263,000 direct Travel & Tourism jobs in Italy remaining unfilled by the end of 2021.
The research, in collaboration with Oxford Economics, analysed labour shortages across Italy and other major Travel & Tourism destinations, such as the U.S., France, Spain, the UK and Portugal, focussing on the period between the second half of 2021 and 2022.
The comprehensive research reveals staff shortages across all six countries, with employment demand starting to outstrip the available labour supply.
The research shows that of the European countries analysed, Italy is the most impacted, predicted to see a shortfall of a shocking 263,000 jobs with one in seven vacancies left unfilled this year.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Italy’s economic recovery could be jeopardised if we don’t have enough people to fill these jobs as travellers return.
“If we cannot fill these vacancies, it could threaten the survival of Travel & Tourism businesses up and down Italy.
“Companies dependent on tourism have been hanging on for the upside; this is just another blow that many may not survive.”
The global tourism body also warns reinstating damaging travel restrictions, such as recent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, do not stop the spread of the virus and only damage livelihoods.
According to WTTC’s report, in 2020 the Italian Travel & Tourism sector experienced a 12.4% reduction in direct* employment, equating to 215,000 job losses.
As the travellers’ ‘wanderlust’ increased during the second half of 2021, and in line with the easing of restrictions which brought Travel & Tourism to an almost complete standstill, the labour demand is now outstripping the supply.
Next year the labour market is set to adjust, partially linked to the comparatively high unemployment rate in Italy, although staff shortages could remain within specific industries of Travel & Tourism.
WTTC’s report outlines solutions for governments and Travel & Tourism stakeholders to tackle the alarming labour shortages, recognising the impact of furlough schemes.
These include facilitating labour mobility and remote working, providing social safety nets, upskilling and reskilling the workforce and retaining talent, and creating and promoting education and apprenticeships.
Before the pandemic struck, Travel & Tourism was one of the largest sectors globally, accounting for one in 10 jobs, while also supporting millions of livelihoods.
In 2020, when COVID-19 brought international travel to a grinding halt, 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5%, leaving just 272 million employed globally across the sector.
According to WTTC’s latest projections, the global Travel & Tourism sector’s employment is set to rise by 0.7% by the end of 2021, representing an additional 2 million jobs, followed by a year on year increase of 18% in 2022, reaching 324 million jobs – only 10 million below pre-pandemic levels.
Although WTTC’s latest research showcases the devastating consequences COVID has had on the Travel & Tourism sector’s employment, proactive actions and measures taken by many governments globally have enabled the sector to save millions of jobs and livelihoods through various job retention schemes.
According to the global tourism body, staff shortages represent a key challenge for the global Travel & Tourism, and it is crucial for the sector to solve this issue to be able to meet the returning demand for travel.
Image Credit: © AA
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