A quarter of a million vacancies in travel and tourism threaten Italy’s economic recovery, WTTC says in new report

London, UK – A new study by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has found that the recovery of travel and tourism in Italy could be jeopardized if a quarter of a million jobs in the sector remain vacant.

The research analyzed labor shortages in Italy and other major travel and tourism destinations, such as the United States, France, Spain, United Kingdom and Portugal.

The data shows that Italy is the most affected European country among the European countries analyzed, with a shocking deficit of 250,000 workers, with one in six vacancies likely to remain vacant this year.

According to the global tourism body, the gap between supply and demand is expected to be even wider during the peak of the third quarter, when demand for the sector is expected to approach pre-crisis levels.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, nearly 1.4 million were employed by Travel & Tourism in Italy. But 2020 saw the loss of over 200,000 jobs.*

Italy has seen a strong recovery since 2021, with a 58.5% growth in the sector’s contribution to the national economy. However, staff shortages are commonplace in the country, with thousands of vacancies remaining unfilled, putting the sector under severe pressure.

WTTC analysis shows that the Italian accommodation industry and the travel agent segment are expected to be the most affected, respectively facing more than a third (38%) and almost half (42% ) unfilled job offers.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said: “Italy’s economic recovery will be seriously threatened if we don’t have enough staff to fill vacancies. “If they are not met, it will further reduce the chances of reviving travel and tourism businesses across Italy which have struggled for more than two years to escape the impact of the pandemic.”

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

Some of the key actions identified in the report for governments and the private sector to close the talent gap include:

  1. Facilitate labor mobility across international borders, with more favorable visa policies
  2. Enable flexible and remote working where possible – allow for part-time or sub-contract opportunities where possible
  3. To assure decent work and competitive employee benefits and compensation
  4. Attract talent by improving the perception of professions and by promoting career paths that provide opportunities for development
  5. Develop and support a skilled workforce through comprehensive educational programs, as well as the development and retraining of current talent
  6. Adopt innovative technological and digital solutions to ease pressure on staff, improve day-to-day operations and an enhanced customer experience.

The global tourism body believes that by implementing these measures, travel and tourism businesses will be able to attract more workers.

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

*Refers to total DIRECT employment.

About WTTC

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global travel and tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, Presidents and Presidents of leading global travel and tourism companies from all geographies spanning all industries. For more than 30 years, the WTTC has been committed to raising awareness among governments and the public of the economic and social importance of the travel and tourism sector.

According to WTTC’s 2021 Economic Impact Report, in 2020, a year in which it was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism contributed 5.5% to global GDP and were responsible for 272 million jobs.

WTTC Press Office

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