There are previsions about how we will travel in the future. Some people and experts in lifestyle and economic visions believe that we will have more and more time in the coming years because we will work less hours, retire earlier and have more money to go somewhere else and relax – at least some of us. Among these people that believe in this vision for the coming year we find Jörg Lindner, an renown German investor in the European tourism market. He not just believes in a better world today and in the coming years than we had before, he also thinks that we will see an enormous growth in the tourism industry.
Students have many doubts if it is still worthwhile studying an academic career. For those who are doubting and want to work in tourism, what is your advice?
Tourism is one of the megatrends of the 21st century and growing exponentially. It offers many jobs for academics and non-academics, so I do not think it is necessary to make this distinction.
How important are language skills? And which languages are mainly requested?
Comprehensive language skills are indispensable. Of course, English is the basis here, especially as it is often used as a working language in international companies. I always tell my children that English is not a language, it is a tool. Since Asia – above all China – has by far the largest increase in the number of travelers, those who speak Mandarin fluently are well advised. However, in certain situations, mastering a less widely used language can make you stand out from the crowd and give you a unique selling point over your competitors.
Would it make sense to integrate refugees in hotel staff?
Of course it makes sense to integrate refugees into the labour market – this also includes work in the tourism industry. However, this also requires extensive investments in qualification. Language courses are an essential part of this, but it is more important to train and educate the refugees in numerous areas.
How should this be organized?
Less bureaucracy, shorter approval procedures, easier acceptance of existing qualifications. Start to teach the language from the first day, begin qualification as soon as possible.
Where are right now the most jobs requested in tourism and in which countries?
Germany, Italy and Spain, of course, but tourism is growing everywhere, mainly in Europe. The most jobs are probably offered in the service sector, but as I said earlier, there are all kind of job opportunities.
In Spain there is a lot of polemic about the low wages that are paid in this sector. What is your opinion about that?
Hotels and gastronomy suffer from a shortage of skilled workers. Fewer and fewer people are being motivated to work in a hotel or restaurant. Nowadays, if you are looking for the best employees, you have to apply to the high potentials. Employers are in demand here – whether through above-average salaries, the provision of affordable housing in high-priced holiday resorts or comprehensive further training opportunities. I am not an expert for the Spanish market, but I know that in the long run higher demand will lead to higher prices.
Staff working in gastronomy and hotels live mainly on tips. Do you think that this is the correct way to make the client pay a proper salary for the employee?
Again, I think there will be a trend to higher wages. At first glance, there seems to be an imbalance in the catering industry between the basic salary paid by the employer and the optional part paid by the guest in the form of a tip.
Ultimately, however, one must also consider that a significantly higher salary, which is paid by the employer, would most probably also be allocated to the guest – in the form of higher prices. In the long term, this would lead to a substantial part of society making less use of gastronomic services and possibly harming the industry.
Do you believe that tourism is the sector that will create the most jobs in the near future? If this is the case, can you explain why?
Tourism is one of the megatrends of the 21st century. Since the end of the Second World War, the whole of Europe has benefited from an epoch of peace unprecedented in history. This is the driving force behind the constantly growing tourism sector.
Prosperity in the emerging markets is also growing and forming a new middle class. At the same time, travel is becoming affordable for the general population – also through budget airlines and low-budget hotels. Travel is therefore no longer a privilege denied to the socio-economically better-off class. Studies predict an increase in global travel flows of around 66% by 2030, with Europe remaining the world’s largest destination region for tourism.