European countries are turning to Türkiye to recruit personnel to work in the tourism industry after they suffered from labor shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic.
European businesses are making attractive offers to lure students and graduates of tourism schools in Türkiye.
Some 1.7 million people quit their jobs in the tourism industry in Europe and only 570,000 of them returned, said Ebru İçigen, the dean of the faculty of tourism at Akdeniz University,citing data from the World Travel Council.
The pandemic changed the whole landscape in the European tourism industry, she said, adding that European countries need to find 1.2 million staff to fill the gap.
“Businesses in Europe are reaching out to us to inquire about our current students and graduates particularly after the pandemic,” İçigen said.
She noted that in the previous years, students, and graduates, who wanted to go abroad, faced many problems.
“They were struggling to reach out to businesses in Europe to seek employment opportunities. Now, it is the other way around. Tourism companies in Europe are calling us.”
Akdeniz University, which is in Türkiye’s holiday hotspot Antalya, is one of the leading institutions in tourism education.
İçigen said that they are pleased with the strong interest the foreign companies show in their students and graduates, but voiced concern that the Turkish tourism industry may lose skilled personnel.
“The best way for Türkiye to retain trained personnel is to extend tourism to 12 months and improve working conditions,” she said.
Türkiye is one of the major players in the global tourism industry.
Türkiye, which ranked 17th in the world in terms of the number of visitors in 2002, rose to fourth place with 51.4 million visitors in 2022, Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said recently.
The country increased its tourism revenues from $12.4 billion in 2002 to $46.5 billion in 2022, thus climbing seventh place in the world rankings in terms of tourism revenues, according to Ersoy.
Some 84,000 people were working for travel agencies and tour operators in Türkiye as of September, the latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) showed.
In the accommodation and food services industry the number of employees stood at around 1.3 million, up by 4.7 percent compared with the same month of last year. The accommodation sector alone employed nearly 450,000 people, pointing to a 5.9 percent year-on-year increase.