Official figures from Portugal indicate there is a shortfall of between 40.000 to 50.000 workers to meet the demand of tourists entering into Portugal.
As a solution, the government of Portugal is setting up protocols to help businessmen recruit in Portuguese-speaking countries so as to meet the shortfall.
The market for Portuguese-speaking African nations (PALOP) is enticing, and in the Algarve, where occupancy rates are anticipated to approach 90% this month and in September, many business people have already begun to look for candidates across the African continent.
Cape Verde as one of the target countries has hoteliers already talking of a “brain drain” of emigration in a sector that contributes to a quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The government solution to recruit from African countries has also left Portuguese unions unhappy
The workers’ representatives argue that the lack of manpower cannot be replaced with low wages, and demand better working conditions.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, gross wages in the sector increased by 7.5% in 2021, but despite the rise hotel workers still receive 247 euros below the national average wage.
Portugal is one of the European states that most depends on tourism for wealth production and prior to the pandemic cuts in 2019, the sector made up more than 15% of the country’s GDP.