29 November 2006

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Business Today

Malta Today



Tourism creating just 9,100 full-time jobs

The other 9,000 are all part-time jobs

James Debono

Part-timers account for a massive 49.5% of all jobs in hotels, restaurants and catering establishments, according to statistics presented in parliament, with 31% of the entire part-time cohort not even having an additional full-time job.
Tourism is presently generating just 9,107 full-time jobs – a far cry from the impression given by the industry that tourism is Malta’s lifeline. Apart from full-time employees, tourism also generates 8,911 part-time jobs.
But 5,496 workers in the industry are part-timers who lack any other source of income, a clear indication that tourism is only offering a precarious livelihood to its workforce.
The figures were revealed in parliament by Employment Minister Louis Galea following a question tabled by Labour’s tourism spokesperson Evarist Bartolo.
“These figures show that the industry is still highly seasonal and cannot afford to employ full-timers all year round,” Bartolo told Business Today.
The Labour MP also interprets the figures as an indication that employers are refraining from employing full-timers as they try to keep down rising costs while their revenues are falling.
According to Bartolo costs are rising due to the energy surcharge while revenues are falling due to a decline in arrivals. “This is having a marked impact on the quality of service offered in hotels and restaurants. To give our tourism a new lease of life we must train and educate our workforce better at every level to give a better service.”
But Bartolo also argues that workers will only give a good service if they are offered good working conditions. Quoting Professor Joe Falzon’s presentation for the Reggie Miller Foundation, Bartolo notes that in the last eight years the rate of inflation has outstripped the salary gains made by employees in the hotel and restaurant sector. As a result working conditions and the quality of life of most of these workers have deteriorated.
“To make our industry sustainable and create more jobs we need to create more value added, which means we need more tourists, all the year round and we need tourists who spend more.”
Restaurants tend to make a greater use of part-timers than hotels and bars. While part-timers account for 43% of all jobs in the hotels and 48% of jobs in bars, they account for 62% of all jobs in restaurants.
Part-timers who don’t have another source of income account for 29% of jobs in hotels, 37% of restaurant workers and 27% of employees in bars.
Since the 1960s bars, restaurants and hotels offered workers chance to supplement their incomes through part-time work. But in the past years the trend was to offer part-time work to those who lack any other form of income. At present, only 3,415 workers with a part-time job in tourism have another full-time job.

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