Resort Town Has Struggled To Replace Lost Staff During Pandemic
Hotels and restaurants in Cancun and other regions of Quintana Roo are still facing staffing issues, despite a strong resurgence of tourism in the state. The news comes as over a million tourists visit the popular beach town.
The Cancun tourist industry, with a particular emphasis on hotels, is still operating without an average of 13% of its usual workforce. In fact, the area of Benito Juarez, where Cancun is located, is one of only a few areas in the country that has not seen a full recovery of its workers.
Most other states in the country have seen a strong resurgence in the workforce since the pandemic started to wind down across the world. But the tourism sector is desperately trying to find qualified applicants to work in an array of roles, from service all the way to administrative positions.
It was assumed that when the pandemic’s effects lessened the employment figures would skyrocket once more. However, when many of those working in the tourist industry lost their positions over the last two years, large numbers moved back to their hometowns and states. The more qualified or specialized of those workers were able to secure positions in other industries or even started their own businesses. With the incentives low for those to return, a large gap in the job market has emerged.
With so many tourists visiting the area at this time, it is almost certain that many of the hotels will be feeling the pinch. Tourists may not be aware of any problems if the establishment is managed well, but it’s likely that many are working long shifts and the daily operational jobs may be more chaotic.
Multiple programs have traveled the country advertising work, going as far as Mexico City to push people towards Quintana Roo. The restaurant industry is attempting similar methods and is approaching culinary schools to try and poach students as they finish their studies.
Cancun is fighting to keep up its reputation as one of the world’s best destinations, with organized crime and sargassum levels threatening many visitors’ enjoyment of the city. Staffing issues were not anticipated to be one of those problems, especially in such a strong period of economic recovery.
The president of the Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres, Jesus Salazar, said of the issue,
“We are multiplying the work among the personnel that we have in the lodging centers, for this we are also training. With this they are also paid bonuses for the support they are giving to lodging centers, which have already reached about 80% hotel occupancy”
According to the association, the efforts to find trained workers from across the country will continue in the form of employment caravans, work fairs, and other marketing methods. Only with a fully trained workforce can Cancun expect to keep its millions of visitors happy and willing to return.
With the city firmly in the green zone on Mexico’s epidemiological traffic light system, there are no operational capacity limits being enforced on Cancun or anywhere in Quintana Roo. Previously, limits were capped at 80% or even as low as 50% depending on the color designated to the state. At that time, staff numbers were low because of costs and then because of high COVID figures leaving as much as 40% of staff unable to work at any one time.
Hopefully, the city will be able to find the workers it so sorely needs to continue its strong economic recovery and rise to the top of the tourist industry.
Those traveling to Cancun in the near future should ensure they check in with all hotels, restaurants, and activity providers to ensure they avoid disappointment. The numbers are extremely high and reservations are strongly suggested.
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