Staff shortages in the hotel and catering trade

"The South Tyrolean hotel and catering industry needs 40,000 workers in the high season, twice as many as 20 years ago. Where do all the cooks, waiters and chambermaids come from? And what do employers have to offer in order to get enough staff? The Touriseum’s temporary exhibition for 2023 addresses this highly topical issue."

"The first part of the exhibition introduces some of the reasons for staff shortages: the massive increase in tourism over the years and the strong trend towards personnel-intensive, higher class hotels. Whereas a simple bed and breakfast used to get by with one employee per 30 beds, a four-star hotel now needs one employee per five beds. The exhibition then shows where the staff in the hotel and restaurant industry comes from: almost half of them come from outside South Tyrol. Finally, the exhibition also looks at the negative aspects of certain jobs in the industry: evening and weekend working, limited days off, a lack of accommodation for seasonal workers and, not infrequently, poor personnel management in family businesses. It is no coincidence that many people switch to other sectors after completing an apprenticeship in the hotel trade.
The exhibition repeatedly draws historical comparisons."

"The second part allows visitors themselves to become actors: individualised by software, they undergo an interactive job interview and peek behind the scenes of fictitious establishments. As in real life as a cook, waiter, caretaker or entertainer, they can try and find acceptable working hours, fair pay and interesting benefits – or see how things could be worse."

"At the end of the exhibition tour, visitors are asked to vote on how South Tyrol should hold off a further worsening of the staff shortages in the hotel and catering industry. More immigration? Employment of robots? An end to yet more tourism? The results will be published in November 2023 as an important mood survey – after all, the Touriseum counts some 200,000 visitors a year."

Source:, 10th July 2023

  • Project: formbar - Laurin Kofler