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Remote work in the tourism sector

The post-coronavirus scenario has brought challenges and opportunities for tourism workers. A new learning scenario has emerged for the global tourism industry. Workation and the digital nomad are key concepts in this phenomenon. There are more and more European destinations that are committed to becoming destinations for this niche market.

Boom after Covid-19

Remote work has surged in popularity in the wake of COVID-19. According to Ostelea, telecommuting options increased significantly during the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. During this time, people were forced to change their lifestyles and adapt to a year of limited social contact, social distancing, and working from home. Since then, many companies have adjusted to this new reality by implementing new protocols and technologies that enable certain jobs to be done remotely on a permanent basis.

This has created both challenges and opportunities for tourism workers. As the IABD blog explains, businesses, employees and customers have had to quickly adopt new behaviors. Some will continue, changing the trajectory and speed of trends that until recently were considered distant. The debate about remote working as an established modality is wide-ranging. There is some consensus that it is here to stay.

There is no doubt that remote working is having an impact on the tourism sector, according to expert Vanesa Castello, and more specifically, with the emergence of COVID-19, a new learning scenario for the global tourism industry has begun to take shape. This is a changing and complex international context in which the difficulties faced by the activity must be taken into account. It has been affected by other international crises in previous years, although it has proved to be particularly resilient, able to recover quickly and even emerge stronger.

Nevertheless, the scale and impact of the coronavirus-induced slowdown can be considered unprecedented. There is some agreement that activity has resumed but in a different way. There are certain skills required to succeed in a remote working environment. Javier Strahalm reflects that the significant increase in this type of work has led to greater flexibility in working hours, allowing people to work from anywhere in the world.

And with this new trend has come a unique opportunity for the tourism sector. Universia confirms how hybrid or 100% remote working modalities have been implemented in recent years. Being able to develop your career from anywhere has some obvious advantages, but it also brings several difficulties that need to be considered and overcome. There is a need to develop a range of skills to be effective in teleworking.


A tourist phenomenon in itself

Telecommuting can become a tourist phenomenon in itself. According to tourism expert Selene Orellana, there is no doubt that the work adaptations that many companies have had to make as a result of COVID-19 have improved them exponentially. In fact, many of them have considered adopting this modality permanently.

A key concept in this phenomenon is that of workation. As Barceló describes in his blog, it merges the words work and holiday, concepts that are in principle so opposite that they have never been considered together. They are beginning to merge to define work from some of the most attractive places in the world.

In parallel, the concept of the digital nomad has emerged. According to the Digital Nomad School itself, this profile includes a person who uses the Internet to carry out their profession or to sell their knowledge to other people or companies. In short, they work remotely, which allows them to lead a nomadic life, that is, to travel.

According to a study carried out by La Travelista, among the European destinations that could be the most attractive to carry out this work, the best cities to work remotely are Porto (Portugal), Barcelona (Spain), Athens (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), Palermo (Italy), Copenhagen (Denmark), Tirana (Albania) and Berlin (Germany).

Among the requirements that each of these destinations must have to be selected, and as stated in the NFON blog, along with the computer, the quality of the connection is something fundamental. In general, the more powerful and reliable it is the better. It must have adequate upload and download speeds, and it is very important that it is stable and does not suffer interruptions, or at least only in the event of a fault. In general, it is advisable to have a fiber-optic connection, as it offers greater speed and quality, especially for videoconferencing or VoIP telephony. If a fiber-optic connection is not available, an ADSL connection with high speed and good signal quality will suffice.

There are different ways of promoting a destination to reach this target group. The dissemination of these jobs can come from public institutions, accommodation facilities, travel agencies, the companies themselves, and even “word of mouth”.


Remote jobs in the tourism sector

There are several jobs in tourism where you can work from your computer wherever and whenever you want. Turijobs, a job portal specializing in tourism, has identified a ‘top 5’ list of tourism jobs that can be done remotely. The travel agent, who sells, organizes, and manages the logistics of a trip. The revenue manager, who designs strategies to get the most out of the business, and the community manager who is responsible for managing social networks. Then there are the translators and content creators, who produce material for websites, blogs, and other media. Finally, there is the sales department, which is even easier to work in remote, as it is entirely goal-oriented. Ostelea Tourism Management School adds other digital professions that could be added to this list, such as influencer travelers, photographers, research and consulting managers, big data experts, data scientists, data analysts and market or NLP (Natural Language Processing) consultants.

The tourism and technology blog Turistics has provided some examples of adapting to these circumstances in times of pandemic. As mentioned above, many of these practices are here to stay. In the case of travel agencies, for example, the El Corte Inglés Travel Group continued to serve the public online and by phone, even though its physical offices were closed. For their part, many Spanish hotels have now begun to open up to the possibility of renting their rooms to people who need a kind of quiet office to work from. Similarly, airlines companies such as Boeing and many others have adapted to the situation by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual ones.

There is no doubt that teleworking represents a new opportunity for the tourism sector, as it increases interest in cities, allows greater spontaneity and flexibility in work, makes it possible to combine travel and work, and offers the possibility of staying in unique accommodation. TecnoHotel profiles the features most sought after by travelers, such as pets allowed or the presence of a pool, WiFi, kitchen, air conditioning, dishwasher, jacuzzi, or free parking.

In the same article, Turijobs also outlines the benefits of remote working for both the employee and the company. In the case of the employee, it offers cost savings, a lower level of stress compared to the office environment, greater rest and the ability to maintain healthier habits, greater productivity by working towards goals, and an increase in their satisfaction with a better work-life balance. In the case of the company, it offers a reduction in costs, the maintenance of a more relaxed, happy, and motivated team, increased efficiency and productivity, access to profiles that cannot work from the office, greater loyalty and commitment from employees, and less absenteeism.

There is no doubt that tourism has taken a different course since COVID-19. Far from being a threat, this new trend must become an opportunity. Some elements that have not been taken into account so far will become key, such as the quality of connections. In addition, there must be a joint effort to promote this new route, involving public institutions and the tourism sector, including businesses themselves, which must be particularly involved.


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