CUMBRIA Tourism has warned of major staff shortages in the holiday and hospitality industry which could “undermine” recovery after lockdown.

Research from the county’s official Destination Management Organisation reveals 34 per cent of businesses were concerned about recruiting staff last month.

It puts it down to issues including, staff moving on during the pandemic, immigration policy changes, Covid travel restrictions preventing those who can work in the country being able to return and businesses hiring at the same time.

Cumbria Tourism has been campaigning for overseas hospitality workers to be given the same recognition as agricultural labourers, whose designation as skilled removes them from the new ‘Australian-style’ points system.

Gill Haigh, managing director, said: “It’s really frustrating that at a time when businesses have done everything they can to reopen safely and start the long road to recovery, they are finding themselves up against another hurdle. I’m already hearing of businesses having to close midweek due to a lack of staff and we do need Government to listen.

“And yet it is a brilliant career opportunity for many local people who might be seeking work, a career change, full or part-time, in a world class environment.

“One of the best things about the tourism and hospitality sector is that if you work hard, have the right attitude and are prepared to learn, then the sky is the limit.

“It’s also so very diverse, from catering to marketing, customer service to HR professional.”