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Keep up to date with all the latest news from Spain as it happens. The blog will be updated constantly throughout the day bringing you all the latest stories as they break.

'Record summer' for tourism forecast – but Spain 'can't get the staff'
Thursday, June 22, 2023 @ 10:20 PM

SPAIN could be at the threshold of its 'best summer in history' in tourism terms, according to forecasts from the industry – up to 50 million visitors from home and abroad are expected within the three main holiday months.

Cala Millor beach in Mallorca, a key summer tourism destination (photo: Pixabay)

Tourism was one of the nation's fastest-growing industries before the pandemic, with 2019 seeing the greatest number of visitors to date: Around 90 million all year, or more than double the resident population.

In just a quarter of that period, or from mid-June to mid-September approximately, Spain is predicted to welcome more visitors than it has inhabitants – as at the last census, the country was home to 47.6 million people.

But holidaymakers need to be catered for; eating out and going out for drinks and ice-creams, or even ordering takeaways, are all part of the summer travel experience. 

This means employment in traditional tourist belts is heavily weighted towards the hospitality, hotel and catering industry, and largely seasonal.

Good-quality, highly-paid jobs requiring superior qualifications, as well as long-term or permanent employment, are likely to be harder to find on the Costas and islands, and these workers are the first to suffer when there's a downturn in the tourism industry.

The past four years has seen a mixture of jobs in the sector declining and fewer applicants – firstly, the pandemic led to tourism almost disappearing, and now it has recovered in full, employees in bars and restaurants have had time to rethink their life plans.

“If there are no improvements in job quality, security and wages, we're not going to find enough professionals for the sector, which will put levels of service in jeopardy,” says one of Spain's main unions, the Labourers' Commissions (CCOO).

The hospitality industry needs 'a hefty boost', with European Union Next Generation funds used to guarantee its sustainability, the CCOO says in its recent report, Tourism Approaches at the Crossroads of Recovery.

Happy hospitality staff are crucial to keeping the industry alive, says union CCOO (photo: Pixabay)

Next Generation grants should be used to make working conditions better – higher wages, reduced working hours, sufficient breaks, 'appropriate' workload and, where professionals live on the job, improved accommodation, according to the CCOO.

These efforts should focus especially on 'high-tension' or high-demand areas, such as the Costas and islands, where the bulk of summer visitors are found.


Why hospitality workers are quitting – and how to keep them

This year, approximately 49% of the forecast 50 million summer holidaymakers will be from overseas, and 51% on 'staycations', leading to up to 160 million overnight stays, requiring a minimum of 280,000 employees.

Yet, since that record year in 2019, bar and restaurant staff have fallen in number by over 32,000, cleaning staff by 11,000, and chefs and kitchen assistants by 12,000.

In total, in the hospitality sector alone, employee numbers are down by around 75,000.

The CCOO, referring to 'the great walk-out' which 'was first seen in the USA' and where president Joe Biden famously gave the solution as 'pay them more, then', says the situation will get worse unless jobs become more attractive.






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