Tornos news | Media report: Greek tourism hit by staff shortages and rising energy costs

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Tourism in Greece for summer 2022 is threatened by staff shortages and soaring energy costs, officials have warned, according to greekreporter.com.

The tourism sector is Greece’s key industry, providing a quarter of Greece’s national income. Record numbers of tourists are expected this year following the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions.

Nevertheless, Andreas Andreadis, honorary president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), warned that the Greek tourism industry is currently short of more than 50,000 employees, mainly in the kitchen and in service.

“Our quality tourism is in danger,” he tweeted in April.

The shortage of staff is surprising in a country that has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe. According to the latest statistics for February, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Greece stands at 12.8%. The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 is 31.1%.

Hotel owners across the country are facing severe shortages after two years of pandemic restrictions that have seen masses of hotel workers seek work elsewhere.

Yet, as Giorgos Hotzoglou, the president of the Federation of Tourism and Hospitality Workers, said, vacancies are expected because working conditions and wages in the tourism sector are particularly poor.

“Employers differ from company to company. But not all offer an adequate salary for the seasonal worker to decide to go to work on an island,” Hotzoglou told ThessNews.

“Tourism businesses [that] advertise for summer staff in Mykonos, Santorini or Paros, offer a salary of 700 euros ($736) plus accommodation and food for seven days of work, up to 12 hours a day,” Hotzoglou said.

He added that “these wages are not representative of such working conditions and employees are rightly refusing job offers.”

Hotzoglou also pointed out that another factor that has created the staff shortage in the Greek tourism industry is that the government is “dragging its feet” on extending unemployment benefits to workers during the winter months.

As a result, he noted, many workers have sought work overseas while others have turned to other industries.

Last month, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias suggested some of those vacancies could be filled among the more than 22,000 Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Greece since the Russian invasion in February.

Greece issues temporary residence permits to Ukrainian refugees who will be able to reside and work in the country for one year.

Soaring energy prices affect tourism in Greece

Inflation in Greece, driven by soaring energy prices, is nearly 8%, according to European data agency Eurostat.

As energy and food costs rise, hoteliers say they are struggling to survive.

Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers President Grigoris Tassios told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency that running costs are 25% to 30% higher compared to 2021, mainly due to higher energy bills .

He clarified that most hotels have signed contracts with tour operators reflecting 2019 costs. These contacts, he explains, are signed at least a year before the start of the tourist season.

Nevertheless, he stressed that hotels in Greece will not increase their prices at least until 2023. He notes that transport costs are expected to increase, estimating that a plane ticket will increase between 50 and 100 euros due to rising fuel prices.

The president of the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasting, Konstantina Svinou, points out that hotels open all year round are particularly affected. She says a hotel in Athens with low occupancy spends 70% of its turnover on energy costs.

“Under these conditions, the hotel is not viable,” she underlines.

RELATED TOPICS: Greece, Greek tourism news, Tourism in Greece, The Greek Islands, Hotels in Greece, Trip to Greece, Greek destinations, Greek travel market, Greek tourism statistics, Greek tourism report

Photo sources: pixabay.com

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