Hoteliers facing staff shortage as tourism gains momentum

Hoteliers facing staff shortage as tourism gains momentum

Hoteliers facing staff shortage as tourism gains momentum

Türkiye’s tourism industry, which has recently seen a strong rebound, is struggling to fill the positions that became vacant after some personnel quit following the break out of the COVID-19 pandemic to find a job in other sectors.

The labor shortage is hitting the sector hard, especially, the province of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast, at a time when the country is now eyeing more tourism revenues and more tourist visits.

The tourism revenue target has been revised upwards from a previous $35 billion to $37 billion this year, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said recently, adding that the country now hopes to welcome 47 million foreign tourists in 2022, also revising this target from a previous 42 million tourists.

In Antalya, hoteliers also aim to reach the levels seen in 2029, when 15.6 million foreign tourists visited the province. After two years of lockdowns due to the pandemic, the popular holiday destination welcomed 9 million vacationers.

People from the tourism industry in Antalya expect more tourist visits in July and August, projecting 12 million foreign tourists by the end of the year. But the problem is the labor shortage to meet the growing demand.
Tourism facilities, which had to cease operations during the pandemic, are now struggling to hire staff, particularly kitchen, waitress or housekeeping and front office staff, as some of their employees quit their jobs to earn a living in other sectors.

Attractive offers to hire staff

In the face of the labor shortage, hoteliers make attractive offers to lure potential personnel, including monthly pay ranging between 8,000 ($445) to 15,000 ($840) Turkish Liras and free accommodation as well as other benefits.

Most personnel see employment in the industry as a seasonal job and are not willing to work in the sector, said Osman Ayık, who is the tourism adviser for the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.

“If tourism turns into a 12-month business, then people might see jobs in the industry as a long-term career. All the investment made into human resources evaporated during the pandemic,” he added.

Tourism facilities are having problems finding maids, waitresses, chief assistants and gardeners, Ayık noted.

The need for qualified personnel, which had grown even before the pandemic, only increased, said Ülkay Atmaca, the head of the Professional Hotel Managers’ Association (PÜYOD).

The industry lost lots of personnel during the pandemic, Atmaca confirmed. “We are now looking for ways as to how we can gain them back. In [the resort town of] Belek, we cannot even find people who could make 8,000 to 10,000 liras,” he said.