How has the pandemic affected domestic tourism and how is this industry developing after the pandemic? Is there a new trend towards domestic nature tourism and what does this mean for vocational training? And how can tourism businesses, especially from rural regions in Europe, get hold of the international skilled workers they need?
In order to find answers to these questions, the AEF – Spanische Weiterbildungsakademie e.V., with its branch in Hornberg, is getting a European pilot project funded by the EU from the Erasmus+ program. The aim is the exchange of vocational schools, businesses and tourism associations in the Black Forest region and the partner country Spain in order to show possible solutions for the new challenges in vocational training in this sector.
Under the title “Rural regions and green future jobs”, the project is highly topical, since in addition to the new trends in the tourism sector, the issue of a shortage of skilled workers is on everyone’s lips.
Can the Black Forest region become better known and more attractive with nature tourism compared to big cities like Berlin or Munich? What consequences and new requirements does this have for vocational training?
Similar questions and problems face the partners in Spain. Away from the well-known beaches, the rural hinterland offers enormous potential that is only slowly developing, although more and more tourists want to experience this natural space.
With the project “Rural regions and green future jobs”, the AEF and partners want to develop a viable exchange program for the vocational education and training of professionals for rural regions and nature tourism. The seasonal nature of tourism in Spain, with its negative consequences for the workforce, can be turned into a mutual advantage for the Black Forest. But, … how can the Spanish partners get hold of vacancies in the Black Forest?
For example, the Spanish partners could be given the opportunity to offer their students additional qualifications and prospects for internships after graduation. “Unfortunately, the attempts made by the Employment Agency so far have hardly shown any results. On the other hand, we are experiencing how tourism is booming in the Black Forest region and the shortage of skilled workers is becoming more acute. That’s why we as AEF are determined to take the initiative at the European level,” says Mr. José Gayarre, head of the AEF headquarters in Bonn.
In cooperation with the Spanish Hotel and Gastronomy School Costa Azahar, the AEF would like to make its contribution to the tourism industry in the region: “This project is only a first step towards a pan-European development of the tourism industry. As a binational institution of adult education, we are interested in a constructive exchange between vocational schools and enterprises for this new occupational profile of nature tourism, as well as in getting to know each other. In addition, regional marketing as a method of “employer branding” is important for the Black Forest and should make the region attractive as a professional destination,” says José Gayarre.
As an organization that has been active in the region for a long time, the AEF is happy to invite all interested parties to participate. Tourism enterprises, vocational schools, tourism associations or e.g., municipalities can find answers to questions such as “What skills could Spanish colleagues bring with them? What is the vocational training like in Spain? Or how can international skilled workers contribute to this boom in regional tourism?
After a first kick-off meeting in Spain, the next meeting will take place in the Black Forest between 02.09 and 05.09.2022. At the beginning of October, there will be a second round with a delegation from the Black Forest to visit the Spanish partner on the Iberian Peninsula.