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UK travel sector sees job shortfalls of over 200,000 this year

Staff shortages represent a key issue for the global sector, and while issues around supply and demand are set to gradually adjust during 2022, the problem is likely to remain.

A significant labour shortfall could “harm” the sector’s recovery, with 205,000 travel and tourism jobs across the UK predicted to remain unfilled by the end of this year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

It revealed the figures showing, for the first time, the “enormous impact’ that staff shortages could have on the UK’s economic recovery.

As the demand for travel began to strengthen during the second half of 2021, in line with easing of restrictions and the recovering domestic market, the “squeeze” on labour has been unable to match the rising demand.

WTTC’s report outlined solutions for governments and businesses to tackle the 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.

The council said staff shortages represent a “key issue” for the global sector, and while issues around supply and demand are set to gradually adjust during 2022, the problem is “likely to remain”.

The UK alone is predicted to see a shortfall of around 12%, with one in eight job vacancies left unfilled.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, 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, this is just another blow that many may not survive”.

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