12° Nicosia,
01 April, 2023

Investigation into understaffing in the tourism industry is imminent

The aim is to provide answers to the problem of staff shortages in hotels

Maria Eracleous

The start of the summer travel season is anticipated to occur around the end of March or the beginning of April, along with the reopening of hotel facilities that were closed during the winter. While the indications for tourist traffic are positive and somewhat optimistic, the management of hotels and tourism businesses are in a frenzy of activity in an attempt to fill vacancies in units and find solutions to the industry's understaffing, which will inevitably have an impact on the quality of services provided. Staffing needs are estimated to be around 6,000, with the opening of the casino resort in the coming summer season significantly increasing the number.

STEC, in collaboration with the School of Food, Hotel, and Tourism Studies of KES College, has recently launched a survey, which is addressed to managers and owners of hotel accommodation, in order to identify the obstacles and formulate incentives to attract staff in the hotel sector in Cyprus (3, 4 and 5-star hotels, organized apartments and tourist villages). The survey results are expected to be presented at the KES conference on March 22. Each business will be asked to provide numbers for their immediate needs for direct and seasonal staff, their projected needs for the summer of 2023, and their level of satisfaction with the recruitment of third-country workers through the survey.  According to STEC Director General Chrissaimili Psilogeni, the goal is to collect opinions from the tourism industry in order to develop a more concrete picture of the scope of the problem and solutions. These will then be presented to the Minister of Labour and the Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Friendly environment

Aside from employee compensation, the working environment is an important consideration. This is expected to be outlined in the survey, as there are specific questions aimed at providing indicative data on whether companies are staff-friendly. That is, whether they have an HR development department and whether they work five or six days a week. The questionnaire asks you to rate the significance of various factors as causes of staff shortages in the hotel industry. Working hours and conditions, salary, job insecurity, seasonality, a lack of opportunities for advancement and trained personnel, and ignorance of new positions available are some examples. The questionnaire attempts to provide answers in relation to incentives that should be given to attract domestic staff and especially to engage the youth of Cyprus in the tourism sector.

Impact on quality

It is true that staff shortages become more apparent during peak tourism seasons, with implications for service quality. The STEC survey is expected to provide concrete answers on how staff shortages can impact quality in areas such as cleaning, maintenance and security, reception services, restaurants, and on-site kitchens.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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