Cornwall is a popular holiday destination with an average of 180,000 holidaymakers visiting each summer – and growing even more in the last two years as more Britons holiday at home. However, owners of hotels and restaurants in the region are struggling to hire staff, causing difficulties for the hospitality sector at Easter. Companies are facing a “volatile market,” industry chiefs said.
Fewer people want to work in Cornwall and Devon’s hospitality sector due to a range of issues including the pandemic and a housing crisis.
Many have left the company in recent months due to these issues.
Covid has led to increased uncertainty, but the cost of living is also to blame.
Rising costs have made it difficult for people to stay in the area, especially as property prices continue to rise.
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Many companies have even introduced employee housing and discounts to lure people back into the industry.
However, recruiting employees continues to be difficult.
Craig Holman, manager of the Llawnroc Hotel in Gorran Haven, Cornwall said: “It’s dog eat dog getting staff.
“But we’re fine, we’ve had more worrying times.
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“Sometimes it’s better to have three strong employees than an average of five.
“We do good discounts for employees, free parking, food on duty,” added the manager.
Ben Quinn, who runs five catering businesses in Cornwall, revealed he is also struggling with staffing issues – so much so that he is unable to open his new restaurant in Perranporth.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “Hospitality vacancies are at record levels and double the pre-pandemic industry levels.
“In areas like Devon and Cornwall, where second-home ownership has pushed up house prices and businesses rely on seasonal workers, the problem is even more damaging to local businesses.”
Visit Devon’s Sally Everton added that the rising cost of living “could influence consumer choice and for businesses there are still hiring shortages, increased wage costs, the return to 20 per cent VAT, all contributing to the volatile market”. .
Cornwall Council said in 2021 that it was facing “extraordinary pressures” on housing due to various issues caused by the pandemic.
A spokesman for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said it had created 63,500 affordable homes in the south west of England over the last 10 years and the region was getting £1billion to deliver more.
They added, “Our First Homes program helps first-time buyers and key workers buy a home in the communities where they live or work by offering homes at a 30 percent discount.”
Meanwhile, Visit Cornwall’s Malcolm Bell said companies are “innovating” to cope with staff shortages.
“The more difficult challenge is the availability of housing due to the housing crisis,” he explained.