Club 3 – Kraus-Winkler: “Tourism is in transition”

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State Secretary Susanne Kraus-Winkler (ÖVP) sees the drastic changes in the labor market and the energy problem as the biggest challenges for the catering industry.

The last two Corona years have also been a major challenge for domestic tourism. Lockdown, travel restrictions etc. have brought many companies not only to their financial but also to their physical limits. The war in Ukraine and its consequences, such as runaway inflation, have now made the situation even worse. Both factors together also force Austrian hoteliers and innkeepers to think in completely new ways.

“Before the pandemic, no one could have imagined that such a huge hole in the labor market would suddenly arise,” says Kraus-Winkler. There are currently more than 20,000 vacancies registered with the AMS, but this year there is likely to be a shortage of up to 35,000 employees. Even if all persons registered as unemployed in the industry are reinstated, the demand cannot be met. Because there is a shortage of skilled workers across Europe, you can only get “more hands” from third countries. In any case, many companies have had to shorten their opening hours or capacity due to staff shortages.

In addition, employees who are in the market choose the companies very carefully. Work-life balance, company culture, salary, etc. have to be right. Kraus-Winkler: “For many companies this means rethinking”. However, some smaller taverns cannot meet every salary request because they would have to raise prices. “But he is not allowed to sell the schnitzel for 50 euros,” said the state secretary.

High inflation will force the hospitality industry to make adjustments of an estimated 10 to 15 percent this year. “This is still affordable,” says the expert. How much it will actually rise is still open. High energy costs are a cause for concern. That hangs like the sword of Damocles over everything, says Kraus-Winkler. However, energy-intensive companies (eg spa hotels) would receive support payments. Since the gas problem affects all of Europe, a pan-European solution is needed just in case.

Source: Krone

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