Highland tourism industry facing ‘perfect storm’ of challenges in recruiting staff

The Press & Journal – Chris MacLennan

As the fallout from Brexit and the pandemic continues to bite, a high number of vacant posts is causing concern among tourism leaders.

The shortages are limiting what some businesses are able to offer their customers.

Ahead of a busy summer season, they are competing against each other for fewer staff.

Some have even reported increasing wages three times in a year to try to keep hold of their best employees.

Last week, Landmark Forest Adventure Park near Carrbridge announced some of its attractions would remain closed over Easter due to a shortage of staff.

Highland Council estimated that around 25,105 people were employed across the tourism sector before the pandemic.

By 2020, more than 11,000 left their posts, with an estimated 14,056 employed in the sector.

Research conducted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) also found that 68% of tourism businesses surveyed have experienced a labour shortage that has impacted business.

Community interest company Highland Tourism has said a number of factors have contributed.

Chairwoman Yvonne Crook said: “The tourism industry is facing a perfect storm of pressures on their businesses.