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Montevideo, July 20th 2018 - 22:25 UTC

Essential EU poly-lingual staff for UK inbound tourism at risk with Brexit

Friday, February 9th 2018 - 20:10 UTC
Full article 3 comments
“The industry needs to hire poly-lingual graduates. This is a group of people the UK is not good at producing but the other EU countries are”. said Jenkins. “The industry needs to hire poly-lingual graduates. This is a group of people the UK is not good at producing but the other EU countries are”. said Jenkins.

The CEO of the European Tourism Association, ETOA, Tom Jenkins told Parliament that Brexit is already harming the inbound travel industry, damaging productivity and asked for assurances that hiring non-UK EU workers remains free from bureaucratic burdens, since language skills are particularly important in the industry.

Giving evidence before the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee in the Houses of Parliament, Jenkins said that the inbound industry is crucial to the UK’s success as it is responsible for earning foreign currency, but it is experiencing a recruitment crisis.

“The industry needs to hire poly-lingual graduates. This is a group of people the UK is not good at producing but the other EU countries are. Before the Brexit vote, the UK was seen as the place for young graduates to go but since then, the atmosphere has soured and owing to the fall in the value of Sterling, pay has dropped.

”What people don’t appreciate is that if you want to set up an English-speaking office, you don’t need to do it in the UK anymore; there are excellent multi-lingual companies all over the EU and the cream of EU poly-lingual graduates will join them instead, to the detriment of UK-based companies. We are starting to see the start of a borderless market in Europe for travel; it will be the largest market for travel in the world and it appears the UK will be left out of it”, pointed out the CEO of ETOA.

ETOA recently conducted a survey of all the major inbound tour operators and their suppliers, to establish the impact of any restriction on the employment of non-UK EU nationals among those based in the UK.

Over 100 companies, collectively employing more than 35,000 people completed the questionnaire. One third of their employees would be classified as “non-UK EU nationals”. 80% of the companies said it would be “difficult to impossible” to replace these workers with UK nationals.

As nearly all jobs are currently filled by EU nationals, it is hardly surprising that only 16% of the companies have used the “Tier 2 visa mechanism” which is required to recruit workers from outside the EU. Of those that have, 85% found the process “difficult to impossible”. If this system were to be extended to EU workers, (a possible option post-Brexit), then nearly 80% of companies predicted a substantial detrimental impact on productivity.

Jenkins insisted that language skills are particularly important if you are buying from or selling to people in Continental Europe. ETOA members, broadly, need to recruit multi-lingual graduates who are happy to work in the UK. They may only represent 30% of their workforce, but the jobs of the remaining 70% are dependent on them.

Tom Jenkins concluded: “People are the most important asset of any organization. We must not reduce the available talent pool from 500 million to 60 million, particularly when non-UK EU workers have skills that cannot be replicated domestically. Introducing TIER 2 controls on these people will involve a huge increase in expense and bureaucracy. Post Brexit, we need the government to implement a new tourism employment strategy that will enable the industry to hire non-UK EU nationals almost as easily as it can at present. That strategy, to prevent an increase in red tape, has already been drawn up by the industry. It is on the table. We need the government to adopt it.”

Giving evidence before the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee in the Houses of Parliament, Jenkins said that the inbound industry is crucial to the UK’s success as it is responsible for earning foreign currency, but it is experiencing a recruitment crisis.

Categories: Politics, Tourism, International.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Conqueror

    If tourists can't speak a proper language, why should they be allowed in? Are they so cheapskate that they can't afford a phrasebook?

    Feb 09th, 2018 - 08:39 pm 0
  • Troy Tempest

    er... Allo... may I please fondle your buttocks...?

    Feb 10th, 2018 - 04:01 pm 0
  • Lynn

    The question is why is this piece appearing in Mercopenguin, a British government propaganda organ supposedly devoted to America, South America and the “South Atlantic”?

    Feb 14th, 2018 - 05:43 am 0
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