Navigation path

Professional skills

To maintain Europe’s leading position amongst the world's tourism destinations, the industry needs to continuously improve the quality and mobility of its staff to provide top quality, personalised services to all tourists.

Adapting tourism to globalisation and new market demands requires that efforts are made to improve the professional skills of workers in the sector.

The workforce must adapt to new technologies and changes in customer expectations. In particular, this involves the demand for customised travel experiences that can be planned, recorded and, reviewed in across multiple digital platforms. Cross-border mobility also needs to be encouraged.

Directorate General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs works on initiatives to improve professional skills in the tourism, and continuously searches for opportunities to collaborate with other DGs.

Study to map and check the performance of the supply side of education and training for the tourism sector

The aim of the study 'Mapping and performance check of the supply side of tourism education and trainingpdf Choose translations of the previous link ' (2 MB) was to determine whether tourism education and training systems are fit for purpose in providing the necessary labour market skills for employers currently and in light of future anticipated market developments.

In doing so, the education and training framework and qualifications have been assessed against key criteria in the context of the current key occupations in the sector. Gaps in skills provision have been identified and good practice has been highlighted.

The study was completed through desk research and consultations at European level, as well as in each of the 28 EU countries (countries A-I (Ireland), and countries I (Italy)-U) 

The conference 'EU Tourism Skills was held on 21 October 2015 in Brussels, to present the study's main findings.

Study to map the skills and training needs for the improved accessibility of tourism services

The study, 'Improving information on accessible tourism for disabled people', mapped the skills needed to improve the accessibility and safety of tourism services for disabled people and people with special needs. It analysed the availability and the performance of training (both vocational and educational). The mapping exercise was complemented by a performance check of training provisions and barriers to training and an analysis of 20 case studies on skills and training provision which highlighted their strengths and weaknesses. The study was presented at a conference held in Brussels in June 2014.

Dedicated hospitality section in EURES – the EU Job Mobility Portal

Since 2014, EURES – the EU Job Mobility Portal – offers a dedicated section for generating skills passports for the tourism and hospitality sector. It allows jobseekers to present their skill profiles, document their formal and informal qualifications, and have their experiences endorsed by previous employers.

At the same time, employers can search for job candidates to fill vacancies. This tool facilitates a better match of supply and demand in the labour market and improves the mobility of European workers.

Classification of tourism skills and qualifications

In cooperation with the industry and academia, the Commission is developing the ESCO classification (European Skills/Competences, Occupations and Qualifications) specifically dedicated to skills profiles needed in the tourism sector.

Monitoring opportunities

The Commission also monitors existing EU programmes for opportunities to improve professional skills in the tourism sector. Actions include:

  1. Integrating tourism-specific initiatives into EU funding programmes for training such as 'Erasmus+' and 'Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs', and participating in their promotion.
  2. Monitoring sector-specific developments in common European frameworks, such as the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).
  3. A dedicated project funded under the Sector Skills Alliances where hospitality is among the pilot industries.