Italy seeks 400,000 workers to save the tourism industry during the summer

Angel Gomez FuentesFOLLOW, CONTINUE
Updated: 05/17/2022 09:21 a.m.
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Italy
needs almost 400,000 workers to save summer tourism
; of them, at least 40% there is no way to find them. The situation is so delicate that the Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, a prominent member of the League, has made a significant statement: "To save the summer of tourism, we must increase the flow of foreign workers."

Italy has set itself the ambitious goal of recovering the same levels of visitors this year that were recorded in 2019, before the pandemic. But in recent weeks there are tourist structures that have had difficulty opening, because they can't find cooks, waiters, receptionists... After two years of notable hiatus in tourism,
the sector has lost many workers who have decided to seek work in safer professions

and with less harsh or better paid hours. The reality is that something is not working in the job market, according to Tourism Minister Garavaglia, because there are many unemployed, but offers from the tourism industry are not responded to. According to the official Statistics Institute (Istat), the unemployment rate in Italy is 8.3%, reaching 24.5% for young people.

The subsidy disincentive

The Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce and ANPAL (a body of the Ministry of Labor) state that between May and July they need to find 387,720 workers in the tourism sector, especially for hotel and restaurant services. The Minister of Tourism has explained that there is a surprising paradox, because the demand for work is growing, but it is difficult to find seasonal staff: «If 300,000 - 350,000 workers are missing, and you have many unemployed, something is wrong. There is a set of rules that must be reviewed, ”says Massimo Garavaglia to La Repubblica. Among these regulations, the Minister of Tourism cites the “citizenship income”, that is, the income received by unemployed workers or people with economic difficulties. The amount of this income, which constitutes the main electoral banner of the 5 Star Movement, varies depending on many parameters: for example, a person who lives alone will have up to 780 euros per month of citizenship income; and reaches up to 1,330 euros per month for a family of two adults and one adult child or two minors.

Various parties consider that the "citizenship income", whose state coverage is greater than 5,000 million euros per year and is granted for a renewable duration of 18 months, should be eliminated or reformed, because it currently discourages job search and does not It fulfills a fundamental objective for which it was established: to help people who receive citizenship income enter the world of work. According to Italia Viva, a party led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, only 3.8% of the almost three million people who receive this citizenship income have found work. Many who receive this subsidy reject uncomfortable jobs or choose to do a job in the black. Hence the need for a profound reform of its regulations.

The Minister of Tourism Garavaglia, whose La Liga party voted in favor of citizenship income, has announced that he will hold a meeting this week with the Minister of Labor, Andrea Orlando, to respond to the voice of alarm from the tourism sector: "Is there something that does not work. The idea is to meet with Minister Orlando and with tour operators to see what can be done immediately. Among the assistance measures, the income of citizens and the Naspi (monthly subsidy for the unemployed) must be reviewed, because they are an obstacle to balancing the labor supply with the demand for employment.

Mario Draghi's government approved a decree last December to allow the entry of 70,000 non-EU immigrants into the labor market, especially in the construction, agriculture, automotive and tourism sectors. Now, Minister Garavaglia has promised the tourism industry to resort to a new decree to approve the entry of more immigrants, especially with temporary contracts: "We will have to hire foreigners, otherwise we will have staff problems for the summer season," says the Minister of Tourism.

Massive return of tourism

Once the coronavirus emergency has been overcome, tourists are returning en masse to Italy. The art capitals, above all, record tourist records. For example, Venice, with some 50,000 residents, was invaded on the Saturday and Sunday of Holy Week by more than 150,000 visitors.

Minister Caravaglia shows himself
optimistic about the possibilities presented to the tourism industry
after the Covid pandemic: «We have the possibility of easily extending the sea season beyond September, and also favoring the development of mountain tourism, which is becoming increasingly popular, an important opportunity to take advantage of».

Minister Garavaglia is even considering a tourist collaboration with Spain: «There are markets with which you can collaborate: I recently spoke with the Spanish Minister of Tourism (Reyes Maroto). There are many Italians who go to Spain, and vice versa: It is an expanding market -adds the minister- and it can represent an excellent opportunity in mid-season (just before and after the high season), convenient for both countries».

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