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The World Travel & Tourism Council has warned of significant UK labour shortfall that could harm the sector’s recovery, with 205,000 travel and tourism roles still unfilled by the end of this year.
Data compiled by Oxford Economics for WTTC analysed sector staff shortages across the UK and other markets including the US, Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal, in the second half of 2021 and start of 2022.
All showed significant staff shortfalls, with employment demand starting to outstrip the available labour supply.
The WTTC, which represents the global private travel & tourism sector, says that the UK is predicted to see a shortfall of around 12 per cent, with one in eight vacancies unfilled.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, warns: “The UK’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 and tourism businesses up and down the UK.”
The global tourism body also warns any reinstating of damaging travel restrictions, such as the recent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new variant, does not stop the virus and only damage livelihoods.
Since the start of the pandemic, the UK job retention scheme paid furloughed workers 80% of their pre-pandemic income, with workers earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
WTTC’s report outlines solutions for governments and businesses to tackle the looming crisis of 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.