A new study by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals the recovery of Italy’s travel and tourism is under threat. A quarter of a million tourism job vacancies widen supply-demand gap.
The WTTC’s research analysed labour shortages across Italy and other major travel and tourism destinations, such as the U.S., France, Spain, the UK, and Portugal.
The data shows Italy as the most impacted of the European countries analysed. The report predicts a shortfall of 250,000 workers. In other words, one in six vacancies are likely to remain unfilled this year.
According to the global tourism body, the supply-demand gap is expected to be even higher during the peak third quarter when the sector’s demand is likely to approach pre-crisis levels.
Staff shortages are prevalent
Before the pandemic, in 2019, the travel and tourism sector in Italy employed nearly 1.4 million. But 2020 saw the loss of more than 200,000 jobs.
There was a strong recovery from 2021, with a 58.5% growth to the sector’s contribution to the national economy. However, staff shortages have been prevalent in the country, with thousands of vacancies that remain unfilled, putting the sector under great pressure.
WTTC analysis shows Italy’s accommodation industry and travel agent segment are forecast to be the worst affected, facing more than one third (38%) and nearly half (42%) of unfulfilled vacancies, respectively.
Compare Italy’s shortfall with that of France, which is around the 70,000 mark. Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said: “Italy’s economic recovery will be put in serious danger if we don’t have enough people to fill the vacant jobs.
“If they remain unfilled, it will further dampen the revival chances of travel and tourism businesses across Italy which struggled for more than two years to escape the impact of the pandemic.”
Over a million travel and tourism job vacancies across Europe
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.
Some of the key measures identified in the report for both governments and the private sector to address the talent gap are:
1. Facilitate labour mobility across international borders, with more favourable visa policies
2. Enable flexible and remote working where feasible – allowing part time or contractor-based opportunities, where possible
3. Ensure decent work and competitive employee benefits and compensation packages
4. Attract talent by improving the perception of jobs and promoting viable career paths with growth opportunities
5. Develop and support a skilled workforce through comprehensive educational programs, as well as upskilling and reskilling current talent
6. Adopt innovative technological and digital solutions to alleviate pressure on staff, improve daily operations and an enhanced customer experience.
WTTC believes by implementing these measures, travel and tourism businesses will be able to attract more workers.
This in turn would enable the sector to meet the ever-growing consumer demand and further speed up its recovery, which is the backbone to generating economic well-being across the country.