“We would like the Government to have a vision” to help solve the sector's problems, including the lack of manpower, said the president of AHETA, Hélder Martins.

The document, commissioned by the University of Algarve through the Collaborative Laboratory for Tourism and Innovation (KIPt COLAB), indicates that “human resource needs vary between 4,484 and 7,906 by the end of 2023, in the companies surveyed”.

The study is based on a sample that represents 54% of the accommodation capacity in the Algarve, 52% of tourist demand and 34% of employment in the region.

According to the figures released, AHETA members currently have around 17,000 employees, needing to increase this number by around 30%.

“Hiring difficulties are evident, especially in the more operational areas, such as food and beverages, accommodation and maintenance”, according to the person responsible for the report, Professor Antónia Correia, also present.

Even so, working conditions in tourism and hotels show “a progressive improvement in terms of stability and salary”, he assured, warning that “expectations for the future reveal a very moderate optimism”.

Wage increase

The average gross salary of AHETA member companies was around 1,013 euros in 2022, 70% higher than the wages paid in 2015.

For this association, the Government's recent decision to establish a protocol for the free movement of workers for the sector with Portuguese-speaking countries, Morocco and India should be speeded up, to ensure the arrival of more workers next year.

Hélder Martins said that “there may be problems” in the ability of Portuguese consulates in those countries to issue their visas, which may delay the arrival of the workforce in 2023.

This official suggested that the Portuguese executive study “adjustments” to be made in the tax burden, so that companies and workers would have more incentives for employment in the sector.

Housing workers is another major problem that AHETA would like to see resolved, namely through the construction of housing for this workforce at a lower cost than tourist accommodation.

“The cost of accommodation is the biggest obstacle for people to come to work in our region”, he concluded.