Lack of housing for workers among main obstacles
A study has found that Algarve hotels need around 8,000 more workers until the end of 2023 to meet their needs.
Entitled ‘O capital humano na hotelaria e empreendimentos turísticos do Algarve’ (Human capital in hotels and tourist developments of the Algarve), the study was ordered by the Algarve hotelier association (AHETA) and carried out by the University of the Algarve’s Tourism and Innovation Collaborative Laboratory (KIPt COLAB).
The companies queried represent “54% of the Algarve’s accommodation capacity, 52% of tourist demand and 34% of the region’s employment”, the hotelier association said.
According to the study’s findings, the Algarve’s hotels currently have a workforce of around 17,000 people – a number which ideally should be increased by around 30%.
“The difficulties of hiring are evident, especially in the more operational areas, such as food and beverages, accommodation and maintenance,” said researcher and professor Antónia Correia at the presentation of the study, held on Wednesday afternoon at Hotel Vila Sol in Vilamoura.
However, the study found that working conditions in the tourism and hotel sector have been “progressively improving in terms of stability and wages” and that “expectations for the future are very moderately optimistic.”
Adds the association, the average gross wage offered by AHETA’s member companies was around €1,013 in 2022 – 1.7 times more than in 2015.
While AHETA president Hélder Martins has called for the government to have “vision” in order to help the sector overcome its challenges, the association believes that the recently created regime allowing people from Portuguese-speaking countries, Morocco and India to come work in Portugal is expected to bring more workers for the sector to the Algarve.
Martins admits that there “might be some problems” in the capacity of Portuguese consulates to provide all the needed visas, which may delay the foreign reinforcement efforts.
He also suggested tax “tweaks” to allow companies and workers to have more job incentives.
Another major issue affecting the sector is the lack of housing for workers from other countries or parts of Portugal.
“The cost of housing is the biggest obstacles preventing people from coming to work in our region,” the association said.