THERE are over 3,000 unfilled jobs in the hotel sector at present, as employers face an increasing struggle to find trained staff.
The new president of the Irish Hotels Federation Stephen McNally warned there are staff shortages in all areas of hotel work, including chefs, bar staff, supervisory roles and housekeeping.
The problem is more acute in Dublin and is the worst it’s been since the recession began, he said..
“It is a big issue for many hotels trying to find trained staff,” he said.
The hotel sector already employs 54,000 people country-wide and has huge potential to grow along with tourist numbers , he said.
Some of this problem would resolve as students became available when college finished, Mr McNally said.
However the IHF is also calling for state training body SOLAS to set up a dedicated hospitality training unit with a new model for apprenticeships.
Two thirds of hoteliers said in a survey that they planned to take on additional staff over the next 12 months,.
Mr McNally is deputy chief executive of the Dalata Hotel Group which operates 35 hotels in 15 counties including 15 Maldron hotels.
He told the IHF agm in Trim that extra 74,000 tourism jobs could be created by 2020 if Ireland could attract 10m overseas visitors a year, Growth of 6pc a year would be needed to achieve this target and build on the 7m tourists who visited last year.
The number of overseas visitors increased by 7.2pc last year and a strong marketing strategy will be needed to deliver continued growth, he said.
The first step would have to be the full restoration of the Tourism Marketing Fund’s funding which has been cut from €47m in 2009 to €37m this year.
Delivering an extra 3m visitors could build on the 23,300 new tourism jobs created since 2011 and generate an extra €540m a year in tax revenue, Mr McNally said.
This would bring total tourism employment up from 196,000 today to 270,000 by 2020.
“These jobs would be spread across every corner of the country, creating sustainable indigenous local employment and contributing significantly to the export economy,” said Mr McNally.