"Just as England came to look for nurses in Portugal a few years ago, they are coming to look for our students.” According to the president of the Estoril Higher School of Hotel and Tourism (ESHTE), Carlos Brandão, guarantees that international demand by Portuguese tourism students is increasing.

Greece, Spain, England, Italy, Croatia, Mozambique, Malta, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tunisia and Dubai are some of the countries looking for interns from Portugal. This is making convincing future professionals in the sector to stay in Portugal increasingly difficult according to a report by Dinheiro Vivo.

Following the pandemic, Greece began to look at the Estoril School for human resources and, last year, around 80% of international internships for final-year undergraduate students were carried out there. “These are luxury hotel chains that provide excellent conditions, paying between 800 euros and 1200 euros for an intern, with accommodation included”, admits the president of the educational institution.

This year, Dubai's luxury hotel group, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, took on Greece with an offer of 100 internship positions at its units. It offers travel, accommodation, insurance, food, gym, and a monthly salary of 500 euros to Portuguese students. Internships take place during the summer months after classes end. Carlos Brandão admits that the offers are starting to exceed the available students, around 140.

“I hope we can have enough students to fill all the vacancies in Dubai. I think we will get closer, so far we have 80 registered. It’s a lot of people for our size, even if we placed almost all of the hotel management interns, practically everyone would go and we still have the other protocols,” he says. For the president, the quality of teaching and the technical capabilities of ESHTE students are the great added value that various international companies recognise in these students.

Final internships are the first door that opens to the professional world and many of those who go abroad end up working abroad. “A classroom assistant, for example, can earn four thousand euros in England or Germany. In Portugal, in a position as a hotel assistant director, you will receive just over a thousand euros. There are always many students who want to go abroad because the salaries are much higher. We are talking about two or three times more”, he points out.

Last month, Emirates also carried out a recruitment campaign for cabin crew on the school premises. The person responsible for ESTHE admits that the United Arab Emirates airline is keeping an eye on these students due to their solid training and language skills. The objective, he says, will be to later transfer them to other operational functions within the company, for which broader skills in tourism are needed. Currently, a protocol is also being concluded with the United States to send students to the Walt Disney World Resort, in the city of Orlando.