'Booked up but no staff': Tourism bosses' new problem
- Credit: Archant
Bosses of holiday parks and hotels in Norfolk are celebrating bookings up to next Easter - but finding it hard to recruit staff to cope.
Potters Resort in Hopton-on-Sea, which recently reopened offering new, all-inclusive stays, is fully booked up for almost the next year. But its owner John Potter says they've got a new problem - finding staff.
A combination of Brexit and Covid meant many foreign workers left Norfolk to go home and didn't return. Others who either lost their jobs in hospitality in lockdown or were put on furlough started doing other jobs - often less stressful and not as long hours - and decided to stay put.
Potters is currently advertising for around 26 different roles from a trainee manager to chefs, beauty therapists, kitchen porters, bar supervisors, housekeepers and sales staff.
Mr Potter said: "With deferred holidays now stacking up from last year onwards, and the fact we are still limiting forward capacity to keep everyone distanced and safe, many breaks have sold out.
"Our new all-inclusive breaks are proving to be a popular post-Covid choice to look forward to, especially as many people can't have their all-inclusive holidays abroad. The industry is ready, we are all looking forward to introducing many new guests to our best kept holiday secret on the east coast.
"But we are just finding it so hard to recruit people."
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Vanessa Scott, who runs Strattons boutique hotel in Swaffham, agreed - and also said her business was being affected by Airbnb.
"We are very busy but Brexit has had an effect. We used to employ people from Eastern Europe but many have found other jobs they prefer. There just aren't enough people to work - we used to have seven chefs and we are now down to four and one of those is me.
"That is a big drain on everyone as we are working all hours. There is a lot of stress in the hospitality industry and people who found other jobs in lockdown are choosing to stay in them."
She said they had closed their cafe after breakfast on Mondays and Tuesdays to help with the workload.
"These are tough times and I really hope the politicians are listening to us because there will be businesses next year which are no longer there.
"There is so much more work because of Covid. Business rates are still at a high level and it's frustrating as companies which operate online Airbnbs can avoid business rates. In Swaffham there are two big houses which have been refurbished beautifully and you can hire them out, they are taking my business too.
"I think it's the way hospitality is going; people don't want to be in serviced accommodation as much, the industry is changing and Covid has been a catalyst for speeding up that change."
Potters holiday resort reopened as the UK's only all inclusive venue. Guests enjoy full board dining, accommodation, sports and leisure activities as well as entertainment and drinks throughout their stay.
The venue has also invested in a new entertainment area with live vocalists and a band. Last month it also opened a new history room, giving information on how the resort has evolved and with a model of a wooden hut showing how accommodation used to be like.
Last year it unveiled its new South Terrace.
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