1.2 million travel sector vacancies remain unfilled in Europe

1.2 million travel sector vacancies remain unfilled in Europe
Credit: World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

The travel sector continues to experience a large shortage of workers, with 1.2 million vacancies in the EU, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Travel Commission (ETC).

At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the travel industry suffered the loss of 1.7 million jobs. A year later, in 2021, as Covid restrictions began to ease up, 571,000 jobs were recovered.

"Europe showed one of the strongest recoveries in 2021, ahead of the global average," Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said in a press release. "However, current shortages of labour can delay this trend and put additional pressure on an already embattled sector."

Uncertainty of the future

The shortage comes as the demand for the travel sector has increased sharper than expected in Europe, as all pandemic-related travel restrictions have been lifted. European airlines and airports, such as Schiphol in Amsterdam, have had to limit capacity this summer and cancel flights.

The council points out that many vacancies are likely to remain unfilled throughout the busy summer period, with travel agencies projected to bear the brunt of their impact and nearly one in three vacancies unfilled and accounting for 30% of the overall shortages. Air transport and accommodation sectors are likely to suffer one in five unfilled vacancies.

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"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 said.

To address the urgent issue of travel sector shortages, WTTC and ETC recommend governments and the private sector to implement several measures. Among them, facilitating labour mobility, enabling flexible and remote working where feasible, upskilling and reskilling talent and offering comprehensive training and ensuring decent work and social safety nets, among others.

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