Hoteliers: The future will be built with immigrants and it is necessary to dignify these workers

Attention must be focused on the “dignification of the people who chose Portugal and its regions to live and work”

The president of the Portuguese Hotel Association recalled yesterday that the immigrant workforce in Portugal already represents 15% of the total, arguing that, in addition to combating illegal exploitation, focus should now be placed on dignifying these people.

In his opening speech at the 34th National Hotel and Tourism Congress, promoted by AHP, in Funchal (Madeira), Bernardo Trindade called for “a very serious look at the work factor”.

“Portugal between 2015 and 2023 went from 3% to 15% in immigrant labor. According to Social Security, there are now more than 720 immigrant workers, 115 of whom are in the tourism sector alone. The balance in Social Security between contributions and benefits from this immigrant workforce is 1.500 million euros”, began by mentioning the person in charge.

Bernardo Trindade argued, therefore, that in addition to the need to “be merciless with all forms of immigration and illegal exploitation”, it is necessary that attention should also be turned “now to the dignification of the people who chose Portugal and its regions to live and work.”

The tourism sector is one of those that has complained most about the lack of human resources in recent years, and is also one of those that has used most foreign workers in order to overcome this constraint.

“Our collective future will be built with these people. Our demographic future will have a different design and contribution with these people. Topics such as qualifications, housing and transport must deserve attention from all of us. Public and private actors. We are aware that only by taking care of these aspects will we deliver a quality of service in line with the expectations of our customers”, he reinforced at the congress, which has 500 participants and which runs until Friday, under the motto “Horizonte 20-30”.

On November 30, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Nuno Fazenda, called for an increase in salaries in the tourism sector, which are still 30% below the economy average.

“We have to create better conditions to attract talent to tourism. The size of salaries is very important”, asked Nuno Fazenda, at the 48th Congress of the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT), which took place in Porto.

“Tourism in the last ten years has always grown at double digits, with the exception of the two years of the pandemic, it has always grown in revenue and guests. We also have to grow in salaries”, he reinforced at the time.

On February 14, the National Statistics Institute (INE) released preliminary data indicating that the tourist accommodation sector registered 30,0 million guests and 77,2 million overnight stays in 2023, an increase of 13,3% and 10,7 % compared to 2022, increasing total revenue by 20,1% to 6.000 million euros.

These preliminary data from INE say that last year revenue from accommodation totaled 4.600 million euros, which represents an increase of 21,3% compared to 2022.

Compared to 2019, there were “more significant increases,” of 40,2% in total revenue and 43,0% in room revenue, they said.