Staff shortages in tourism: unmade beds and cold food? What we should be prepared for on summer vacation

It's almost here, summer.

Staff shortages in tourism: unmade beds and cold food? What we should be prepared for on summer vacation

It's almost here, summer. For many people, this means one thing above all: pack your bags and go on vacation. According to the most recent tourism analysis by the Foundation for Future Questions, 60 percent of Germans are planning at least one trip this year, around a third of them within Germany. Experts expect a flow of travel reminiscent of the pre-pandemic period.

However, our well-known wanderlust meets new circumstances. Because not everything is back to the way it was before the coronavirus pandemic. This applies above all to the personnel situation in many sectors – including tourism and the hospitality industry.

According to current figures from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA), around 50,000 jobs in the hotel and catering industry are vacant in Germany alone.

A problem that primarily affects the companies - but can also be felt by holidaymakers this year, as Janina Rautenstrauch-Ulbricht from the recruitment agency "" reports in an interview with the star: "There are restrictions everywhere quality and supply to be reckoned with."

What that can mean in concrete terms was shown last year by the noble restaurant "Jünne" on Sylt. After just three months, the acclaimed gosh inn had to close because it couldn't find enough staff to afford life on the luxury island.

Yes, the payment is one of the reasons why many restaurateurs and hoteliers are looking in vain for staff these days. But it's not the only one, as Rautenstrauch-Ulbricht explains: "Many companies still rely on trained specialists and are reluctant to hire lateral entrants. The trend is clearly moving in the direction of 'on the job training'." The problem of the lack of staff is therefore not really new, it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

This can also be observed if you look beyond the borders of German holiday resorts. Popular travel destinations such as Spain, Italy and Greece are also struggling with a significant shortage of staff this year, as reported by the "Handelsblatt". "The problem of staff shortages has now reached the dimension of a real emergency," the newspaper quoted Vittorio Messina, president of the Italian tourism industry association.

The drastic words are almost unnecessary if you look at the numbers: nationwide in Italy around 40 percent of the jobs in the hospitality industry are vacant. In Greece, around 60,000 of a total of 263,000 jobs are vacant, Spain is looking at the same vacancy - especially on the Balearic Islands there is a lack of staff in hotels and restaurants.

Nevertheless, all holiday countries are expecting a rush that is reminiscent of a time before Corona. That means: Many vacationers meet few staff. So what should travelers be prepared for this summer? First and foremost probably to chaos at one point or another. According to Rautenstrauch-Ulbricht, this has sometimes been the case in recent years.

Nevertheless, in her view, there are two points that deserve special attention this year. On the one hand, the offer can change at short notice. This is due to the fact that many companies are "downsizing" due to the lack of staff. "This means that a hotel, for example, closes its own restaurant and only offers breakfast." So it's worth asking in advance what's on offer this year.

But the second point is even more important to her: "Travellers shouldn't get too upset during their well-deserved vacation if the service staff needs a few minutes longer." The order of the day is therefore serenity.