Skills Cards for Employees in the Touristic Sector Survey November 2023
It is evidently clear that the tourism operators in Gozo agree that third country nationals should obtain a skills card before being employed in local tourism establishments. This was expressed by 63% of Gozitan operators in a survey conducted by the Gozo Tourism Association, amongst its members, during the past fortnight. This survey was conducted to assess the views and concerns of the Gozitan operators on the introduction of the skills card.
The encouraging response to this survey from Gozitan tourism operators covered a wide range of the tourism sector on Gozo. The categories that filled in the survey were coming from all the Accommodation sectors, Restaurants, Diving Centres. Tourist Attractions, Transport, Tour operators, DMCs, Travel Agencies, Real Estate and tourism consultancy firms.
More than half of respondents (54%) of this survey declared that the introduction of the skills card will hinder their respective operations further, given the present scenario of lack of locals interested in seeking a tourism related job. Better communication (32%), to curb abuse in the entry visa (28%), upgrading of the touristic services (24%) were highlighted by the survey participants as the one of main benefits of the skills card for the tourism employees.
When asked if the skills card introduction date as of 1st January 2024, is the right time to implement such a measure 54% of survey respondents stated that it is not the appropriate time. On the other hand, 46 % flagged that the intended introduction date is the right time to implement such a scheme. On another note, the absolute majority (86%) of the survey participants agreed that the basic knowledge of the English language should be a requirement for foreign employees to obtain the skills card.
The majority of the survey participants (86%) do not agree with the fee being contemplated for the skills card application stating that most of TCNs cannot afford such amount of money. At the same time only 33% of the respondents are ready to pay the fee on behalf of the prospective TCN employee.
The Gozitan tourism operators in their majority (68%) are agree that all local and EU employees in the touristic sector should eventually be in possession of the skills card. Although all agreed that this is to be introduced gradually.
Finally, 53% of the survey respondents stated that if TCNs already in employment in Gozitan tourism establishments fail the English language assessment these should not be eligible for the skills cards. The other respondents 47% stated that these employees should be eligible to the skills card. At the end, after going through the findings of this survey and the comments therein, the Gozo Tourism Association will be on passing these findings to the various competent Authorities to tackle in a synergized effort the issues raised in this survey for the benefit of the tourism sector.