Travel and tourism jobs crisis with 130,000 vacancies unfilled in pandemic aftermath – Wales Online

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Almost 130,000 travel and tourism jobs in the UK remain unfilled with many establishments struggling to find staff following the Covid pandemic. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned the sector’s recovery is at serious risk with one in 14 openings expected to remain vacant.

Restaurants and hotels are struggling to find staff but the UK government, unlike countries such as Portugal, is refusing to allow temporary workers in from overseas. The UK’s hotel, entertainment, and aviation industries are forecast to be the worst affected, facing unfulfilled vacancies of 18 per cent (one in six), 12 per cent (one in eight), and 11 per cent (one in nine), respectively.

Critical staff shortages are now acute within transportation – particularly across the aviation industry – which is struggling to cope with the post-pandemic travel demand. Before the pandemic in 2019, 1.8 million people were employed in travel and tourism in the UK, but by 2020 more than 200,000 had lost their jobs.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “The UK recovery is at risk. The government is not using the flexibility in the visa system to attract workers to the UK.

“Travel and tourism contributed nearly £235 billion to the economy and employed almost two million people. Now visitors are arriving to find restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues without staff, and we will lose these travellers and their dollars to other countries.

“Big brands cannot understand why countries in Europe are bringing in skilled workers like chefs, but the UK Home Office is not deploying the flexible ‘point system’ visas it promised. The sector was one of the hardest hit in the pandemic, losing 50 per cent of its value, it needs government action now.”

Despite the UK government’s furlough scheme, which provided much needed relief to the sector, WTTC says more support is needed to fill these vacancies, which will in turn boost the economy through its contribution to the country’s GDP. Data indicates that labour supply will continue to fall short of demand during the second half of this year- with the gap projected to further increase in the third quarter of 2022 as demand approaches pre-pandemic levels.

Last week WTTC revealed that up to 1.2 million jobs across the EU will remain unfulfilled, with hospitality, air transport, and travel agencies being the most affected.

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