With a swift vaccination program underway, demand for international tourism has surged in the UK. Travel companies are preparing to tackle this pent-up demand by hiring – in fact, the number of posted job advertisements within the sector increased by approximately 38% in Q1 2021, according to the Job Analytics tool by GlobalData. However, to cope with this ‘new normal’ and ever-changing layers of complexity within the sector, there is an urgent need for experienced, skilled travel professionals. This may be especially difficult at a time when such workers have moved on to other industries.
Craig Bradley, Associate Travel Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Interest in working in the travel industry will be impacted due to job security fears – with redundancies and high-profile job losses reported throughout the pandemic. This poses a problem for travel sector recovery, as expertise and knowledge are now needed more than ever in the current challenging climate. Understanding booking conditions, value-added services, visa regulations and travel restrictions is essential to effectively advise travelers.”
While a rush to make bookings is expected, consumer trust in the sector is unstable, considering the varying travel restrictions and the number of canceled trips that have occured over the last 12 months. According to a GlobalData survey*, 46% of UK respondents were concerned over international travel, presenting low consumer confidence.
Bradley added: “Ultimately, knowledge and expertise are required to market, sell and advise on the right products if confidence is to be restored. It is clear that consumers are wary of international travel – and for good reason. Conflicting messages from travel authorities and ministers has added fuel to the fire. Travelers need reassurance, fast.”
Developing and training employees takes time and costs money, and this will get harder for some travel companies to manage with an expected surge in demand. High levels of competition for experienced travel sector workers and economic restraints could result in travel companies being forced to employ entry-level staff on lower-paid contracts.
Bradley continued: “Travel companies need support from industry bodies to help develop the talent pool. Organizations such as IATA, national trade associations and DMOs need to work with travel industry partners to ensure the next generation of travel professionals have solid foundations to learn their craft. These organizations are in the best position to educate on the current industry themes and circumstances as the world exits the pandemic.”
* Fieldwork undertaken in December 2020, ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘slightly concerned’ responses combined