UK's travel and tourism sector suffering major staff shortage

More than 200,000 travel and tourism jobs across the UK are predicted to remain unfilled by the end of this year, according to a report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The organisation, which represents the global private travel and tourism sector, said the “worrying” figures show for the first time the huge impact staff shortages could have on the UK’s economic recovery.

Data compiled by Oxford Economics for WTTC analysed staff shortages across the UK and other major markets, including the US, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, between July to December 2021 and 2022. It pointed out that 62 million jobs have been lost globally.

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The WTTC deemed the figures 'worrying' and said they show the huge impact staff shortages could have on the UK’s economic recovery. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

All countries showed significant staff shortages, with employment demand starting to outstrip the available labour supply – and the UK alone is predicted to see a shortfall of around 12 per cent, with a “staggering” one in eight job vacancies left empty.

The WTTC’s report outlines steps for governments and businesses to tackle the “looming crisis” of labour shortages, such as 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.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “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. Companies dependent on tourism have been hanging on for the upside, but this is just another blow that many may not survive”.

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