Staff shortages threaten the quality of services and the hotels’ ability to serve more customers than 2021, the association of tourism businesses (Stek) said on Monday.
In a written statement, Stek said personnel shortages is their biggest problem since the gaps in most departments in the hotel industry were huge.
The problem, according to Stek, existed since 2019 but it worsened substantially in 2021 as many European workers returned home because of the uncertainty created by the pandemic and the creation of jobs in their countries.
At the same time, Cypriots found work in other sectors of the economy, which grew in recent years, the association said.
“The shortage in human resources is an international and not just a Cypriot phenomenon,” Stek said.
Similar problems are observed in many European countries like Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Austria, and the UK, it said.
Recognising the problem, the European Parliament has recently asked the Commission to come up with proposals by the end of January to facilitate and promote the entry and mobility of third country nationals in the EU, Stek added.
Stek chairman Akis Vavlitis said Cypriot hotels had a big problem this year and despite the occupancy rate averaging between 40 per cent and 50 per cent, some units were not operating properly.
“In 2022, when we hope occupancies would be higher, the situation will be worse and the danger of us being unable to satisfy the tourists’ needs is beyond visible if personnel issues do not change,” he said, adding that the problem ranked higher than the pandemic at present.
Stek called on the labour ministry to draft a scheme facilitating the recruitment of third country nationals without delay or risk losing next year’s tourist season.