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What professional roles for tourism?

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 10 Maggio 2002

The weather is not promising anything good, but cyclical circumstances are announcing the coming of summer. The soccer championship is over, unfortunately for Inter; the Mille Miglia race has been disputed in the rain as usual; seasonal hotels are trying to fill their vacant jobs, generally – at this stage – by adding the less skilled personnel. In this period, in Italy as in other places, help is wanted for positions as chambermaids, porters, washerwomen or bell boys, which account for a significant number of jobs. When personnel is recruited, emerging professions are the first to be selected, whereas the need for other staff is only felt when the opening season approaches. Recruiting unspecialised personnel, however, is more difficult when experience is required, because certain jobs are no longer viewed by people as lifelong careers, but rather as temporary alternatives to unemployment. Being a chambermaid, for example, once used to be a profession proper. I remember that, at the time of great hotellerie in Switzerland, every chambermaid used to be assisted by an “aide femme de chambre”, and was also helped by a porter. Of course, that was then, the costs of running a hotel had not yet grown so high; things have changed significantly now, and such parameters are no longer an option. What is definitely an option, however, is the need to recover elements of professionalism which are increasingly needed. This, on the other hand, should involve the introduction of adequate training at all levels, so that even staff in basic positions are given the necessary preparation to operate efficiently within their work environment. Working in hospitality may require sacrifices, but it can be interesting and rewarding: The first to believe in this, however, should once again be the people who are most directly involved, whether employers or employees.

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