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Spain holiday warning as hotels forced to close floors due to shortages

HOTELS across Spanish holiday hotspots are being forced to close entire floors due to shortages - which could lead to a summer shutdown for tourists.

A lack of employees could mean some hotels might have to close some of their floors, or even shut shop entirely this summer as they struggle to find the staff needed to operate at full capacity during the holiday season.

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A shortage of staff in Spain could cause hotels to close entire floors this summerCredit: Alamy

It’s feared that this could push up the prices of accommodation at those that do stay open, as demand soars.

The general secretary of the Hotel and Tourism Business Association of the Valencian Community (Hosbec), Nuria Montes, told Spanish newspaper ABC how they are having “great difficulties finding workers”.

The employer, which represents hotels in Alicante, Valencia and Castellón, estimates that the region is missing around 20 per cent of the workforce that’s normally employed during high season in tourist accommodation, which works out to as many as 17,000 workers.

“It is difficult for us to cover the less qualified positions, such as housekeepers, cleaners or kitchen assistants, but there is also a lack of qualified personnel such as kitchen managers, receptionists with languages, maintenance managers,” Montes said.

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Desperate hoteliers have even resorted to bringing forward their hiring seasons, hunting for staff as early as March instead of waiting until May. But the search for employees continues.

Montes points out there are also hotels that have had to close entire floors, which “cannot be commercialised because they do not have staff to attend to them”.

Although she acknowledges that “there are many causes” for the potential shutdowns, she describes the dilemma as “a trend that has been detected since after the pandemic” - a time when many employees in the tourism industry left the sector looking for other options after closures, and didn’t come back.

The sentiment is shared with analyst company McKinsey, who - in a recent study - described Spain’s hospitality industry as “under-resourced”.

The research found that in February 2022, the country’s hospitality industry had roughly 73,400 fewer employees (5.5 per cent) than it had before the pandemic, in February 2020.

“Employment in the hotel sector closely follows seasonal peaks in demand but sank to zero with the onset of the pandemic and has since experienced talent leakage to other industries,” the report states.

“Especially impacted are the lodging and food and beverage (F&B) establishments, which have seen the largest drop in job availability and the highest unemployment rates in the sector due to the staff shortage.”

Similarly, policymakers in the Balearic Islands put a ban on new holiday rentals last week, which could make it impossible to bag cheap accommodation in Spanish hot spots such as Majorca and Ibiza.

The actions have been fueled by a rise of homestays, which has pushed up the cost of renting across the country.

This is especially the case in popular destinations in the Balearic Islands, which is making it difficult for Spanish locals to afford to live there.

The socialist president of the Balearics, Francina Armengol, announced the proposed measures to curb the tourism boom last Wednesday, and pledged to prevent the opening of any new tourism accommodation, which was part of a tourist law passed in 2022.

Hotels across the Balearic islands are also being forced to scrap free room products to reduce waste.

Here’s another reason why your Spanish holiday is about to get more expensive.

The hotel industry is short of as many as 17,000 staff members

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The hotel industry is short of as many as 17,000 staff membersCredit: Alamy



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