Fáilte Ireland is launching a campaign aimed at attracting workers into the tourism and hospitality industry.
The recruitment marketing and awareness campaign is targetted at both jobseekers and businesses.
Around nine out of every ten businesses in the sector say they have had difficulty in recruiting new staff with just over two thirds saying they were finding it difficult to rehire workers.
An estimated one out of every four workers in the tourism and hospitality sector is new to the industry, although it could be higher than that, meaning that as well as grappling with recruitment challenges there is also a shortage of skilled workers in the sector.
The most significant barrier to recruitment was the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, tourism firms said, with higher wage expectations and a shortage of international workers also impacting.
The shortage of overseas workers has been exacerbated by the departure of many workers at the onset of the pandemic, but tourism businesses say the recruitment of new workers from outside of the European Union is being hampered by work permit restrictions.
Some employers say they are restricted by the earnings threshold of €30,000 a year in order to be eligible to recruit from a non-EEA country.
“After the incredibly difficult long closure period, tourism businesses were delighted to be able to reopen. However, this reopening has been exceptionally challenging for many businesses as they have been unable to capitalise on the available demand for their service due to staff shortages,” Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said.
“Fáilte Ireland has been collaborating with industry to help address this issue, with many businesses identifying recruitment as an area of priority concern.”
Prior to the pandemic, the hospitality and tourism industry employed over 260,000 people in Ireland.
As tourism and hospitality was severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, thousands of skilled workers have been forced to seek employment in other sectors creating a significant staffing challenge for businesses.