Spanish tourism expects record season but with a lack of staff

by Lorraine Williamson
hospitality staff shortages

VALENCIA – Tourist destinations in Spain are preparing for a summer season that is likely to break records. But, despite their best efforts, hotels and tourist complexes across the country are struggling with a general shortage of staff. 

“We are experiencing enormous difficulties in finding employees,” confirms Nuria Montes, President of the Association of Hotel and Tourism Companies in the Region of Valencia (Hosbec). This organisation estimates that there is still a 20% staff shortage in hotels in the region. Moreover, that amounts to around 16,000 to 17,000 employees. 

Shortages of all kinds of employees 

According to Montes, there are shortages of all kinds of employees, “from the less qualified positions such as chambermaids, cleaning staff or kitchen helpers, but also qualified staff such as chefs, multilingual receptionists, heads of maintenance…” 

Hotels close entire floors due to shortage 

In addition, the chairman of Hosbec warns that there are hotels that keep some of their floors closed in the middle of the season, which means that theoretically they could have almost 100% of the hotel occupied, but are not doing so due to the staff shortage. 

Cogesa Expats

Structural problem 

According to the Spanish Catering Federation, the lack of workers is “a structural problem, with the influx of young people into the labour market a third lower than 20 years ago, while the number of jobs in the hospitality industry has doubled”. 

They also add other problems, such as a lack of specific training, difficulty in adapting to working hours or a lack of professionalism. 

However, sources from the Meliá hotel company emphasise that the challenge of finding employees is not the same everywhere in Spain. “In certain destinations where the cost of living has risen enormously – such as the Balearic Islands – and it is more difficult to attract talent, we also offer free accommodation and meals in our hotels for employees who need it”. 

Also read: Hotels in Castellón distraught due to lack of staff 

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