The tourist industry will be short of 15,000 workers next year, and the demand will partly be covered by retraining people who are currently out of work and, if necessary, by increasing the quota for foreign workers, tourism minister Gari Cappelli said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday. Cappelli underlined that the tourist industry would have to increase wages to retain the work force, adding that about 20,000 of about 150,000 unemployed had expressed their desire for retraining and possibly to work in the tourist sector. Note that this year’s quota for foreign workers in the tourist sector is 8,660, but Cappelli estimates that there will still be a shortage of between 5,000 and 7,000 workers. The minister noted that while the government might resort to the quota as a short-term solution, in the long term the centres of competence will have to provide the needed workforce. He added that tenders for training would be issued in October.
Cappelli has previously estimated that the tourist sector is to expand by 5-7% this year. Given the high-frequency data so far, including those based on eVisitor and eCrew online tourist check-in and check-out systems, it seems that the tourism sector is likely to report another record-high this year after tourist overnight stays rose by 12% to all-time high of 102mn and the number of arrivals rose by similar 13% to 18.5mn in 2017. However, the sector, which is quite important for the economy accounting for about a fifth of GDP, continues to face limitations from the lack of staff.