The Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Similar Services of Portugal (AHRESP) has released a selection of suggested solutions to reverse the shortage of workers in tourism, where it argues that the value of the remuneration “should always take into account” productivity gains.

“AHRESP calls from now on that the support measures to be launched next month [by the Government] address the adversities that are foreseen” for the sector, “which has not yet recovered from the pandemic (nor is it expected that this will happen yet in 2022)”, considering that companies in the sector “cannot be forgotten and must be included in the measures that may be made available”. In addition, it lists nine solutions to attract workers to the sector.

“While the streamlining of visas for immigrants from the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries is to be welcomed, AHRESP lists other measures still waiting to be accepted by the Government and operators”.

AHRESP proposes that “the value of the remuneration should always take into account the productivity gains, as a result of the individual performance of the worker, but also of the collective performance at the level of the entire employment structure”, in the solutions presented.

Creative strategies

In addition, “tourist accommodation and catering and beverage companies should seek to undertake creative strategies to attract and retain professionals, which must go beyond remuneration and which may go through evaluation systems, recognition practices, career advancement guarantees and a better balance between work and family life”, they continue.

Among the proposed solutions is the “creation of a more favourable environment for the operation of companies, namely through the reduction of tax burdens, in particular those directly related to work”, and “better and more adequate management of the organisation of working time” which “is a factor that generates greater productivity, which increases financial availability so that companies can provide better working conditions”, says AHRESP.

Valuing the profession

On the other hand, “initiatives and mechanisms should be promoted in terms of dignifying and valuing the professions”.

AHRESP defends that “a serious and structured commitment to the qualification of tourism workers is urgent, promoting a dual education system, complementing learning with practical experience”, also proposing the development and implementation of a training program for the beginning of a career.

Immigration part of the solution

In addition, “immigration can and should be seen as part of the solution, as long as it is organised and with a guarantee of dignified, working and living conditions”, and “for this, the public authorities must also review the current mechanisms of legalisation for employees and recognition of qualifications, which must be streamlined”, points out AHRESP.

New challenges

AHRESP points out that, despite the tourist activity showing a positive performance this summer, the end of the high season “will bring new challenges”.

In other words, “with most companies still recovering from the impacts of the two-year pandemic, the inflationary context and the rise in interest rates will cause an increased loss of household purchasing power” and “this is an extremely important factor” of relevance to the activity in the various sectors represented in AHRESP.