The Canary Islands move towards sustainable tourism with quality jobs

The tourism sector in the Canary Islands is recovering by leaps and bounds and the focus must now be on improving working conditions of professionals in this industry.

The tourism sector has experienced an exceptional recovery over the past year, bouncing back after a period of stagnation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canary Islands have played a crucial role in this recovery as a preferred destination for all markets. However, it is now time to reassess and analyze the type of tourism we desire.

Improving employability and working conditions in the tourism sector has been one of the objectives of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, led by Héctor Gómez, a native of the Canary Islands. They are committed to promoting social and responsible tourism, emphasizing the social dimension of the industry, specialization, professionalization, and the quality of employment. The minister highlighted the importance of the human factor in establishing the Canary Islands as world leaders in tourism.

The sector is currently in a fantastic moment, surpassing pre-pandemic indicators and achieving record-breaking tourist numbers and expenditures. The Canary Islands have shown competitiveness and excellence in their productive fabric, leading in spending and experiencing a significant increase in tourists compared to the previous year.

In Spain as a whole, the tourism sector employs 2.5 million workers, contributing to 12% of the total number of affiliated workers and playing a vital role in the economy. The labor market has seen improvements, with temporary employment decreasing significantly, and more workers benefiting from social protection and guaranteed labor rights.

The efforts made during this term have curbed employment precariousness historically associated with the tourism sector. Temporary employment has significantly reduced, and the number of employed workers is gradually increasing while self-employment decreases. These positive trends demonstrate that the tourism labor market is aligning with other economic sectors, ensuring better social protection and labor rights.

Canary Islands’ Tourism: Professional training plan

In recent years, the Ministry has implemented various policies to enhance the social dimension of tourism in Spain. These initiatives include agreements and contracts that ensure good practices in the labor ecosystem of the tourism industry. Additionally, a comprehensive Vocational Training Plan has been developed to foster the creation of high-quality employment opportunities in the short, medium, and long term. Moreover, the Fair Hotels project promotes accommodations that prioritize dignified treatment of their employees, including hotel maids and other roles that have historically faced challenging working conditions.

The Dual Training Plan, which will have received an investment of 6 billion euros by the end of this term, is seen as a significant leap forward by Héctor Gómez. He considers it an effective instrument for generating sustainable employment with a focus on quality, which is a key objective of the government. In the last academic year, the Tourism and Hospitality sector witnessed enrollment from 45,294 students, accounting for 17% of the overall vocational training student body across different levels. This training prepares potential professionals to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of the tourism market, to which Spain is adapting exceptionally fast.

Gómez expresses optimism, emphasizing that they possess the tools to strengthen vocational training, qualifications, and the professionalization of profiles within the tourism sector. The aim is to ensure the provision of high-quality services. Acknowledging the sector’s significant growth, professionals have had to adapt to this changing reality. Through collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors, the goal of achieving this objective is within reach.

Action Plan

As part of these efforts, the Public Employment Service has scheduled the release of a dedicated call for applications in 2023, specifically targeting the tourism sector. This initiative aims to provide subsidies for training programs at the national level, with a pre-established management framework. Furthermore, a Professional Skills Card for the Hospitality Industry will be established, offering comprehensive information on the individual’s work experience and training. Additionally, the Digitalízate project will be reinforced, enhancing the range of free courses and training resources already available on the websites of FUNDAE and the SEPE. Lastly, the minister emphasizes the importance of solidifying the employment-related measures that were created and implemented in response to the crisis caused by COVID-19.

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