The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Hoteliers finding it very difficult to find young employees who speak third language fluently

Gabriel Schembri Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 07:45 Last update: about 6 years ago

With operators in the tourism sector already experiencing difficulties employing the right people to do the job, finding good employees who are able to speak a third language is only making things more challenging.

This was a concern expressed by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Associations (MHRA) when The Malta Independent asked the association for a reaction to an article which highlights the challenges in finding young people who are able to master a third language.


"Languages are key in today's dynamic tourism and hospitality sector, and this is more so given that year on year there is a marked increase of tourists visiting Malta from different countries, over and above the traditional source markets,” an MHRA spokesperson told this newspaper.

The association was asked to react on a study which was conducted by Dr Mario Pace, a resident lecturer at the University of Malta, which showed the younger generations’ inability to grasp a third language.

In Malta’s case, with Maltese and English as official languages, a third language, or a foreign language, specifically refers to French, German, Spanish or Italian. Until some years ago, Italian was considered a language that every Maltese managed to master. But things changed for the younger generations, born at a time when cable television and satellite had already filtered into our households.

One interesting fact which came out in the study was that hoteliers are finding it very hard to find young people who are able to speak at least good English and Italian. It is becoming even harder, if not impossible, to find young people who speak three languages fluently.

“Currently it is already difficult to find people to work in the tourism sector mainly due an increased demand for work in this sector, therefore this phenomena is also creating pressures on operators to find enough Maltese employees with the right competencies and language abilities”, MHRA added.

Asked on what the association is doing in order to address this issue, MHRA said that it is working closely with the Malta Tourism Authority, together with the University of Malta and ITS to explore avenues to launch more language programmes for those who wish or are currently working in the tourism sector.



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