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Environmental Skills Gaps in Tourism and Hospitality Organisations: Evidence from Europe

This research analyses the current self-reported level of proficiency of environmental skills, the required future level of proficiency, and the gaps between them. Given the increasingly urgent need for the tourism industry to take action to support environmental management practices, this research provides evidence of key environmental skill gaps. The main aim of this paper was to assess the environmental skills gaps of tourism and hospitality employees. The specific objectives include: (a) to evaluate the current proficiency level of environmental skills of tourism and hospitality employees; (b) to evaluate the required future proficiency level; (c) to identify the gaps between the current and the required future proficiency levels; (d) to evaluate the role of the tourism sector, country of registration, and organisation size on the environmental skills gaps and proficiency levels; (e) to identify the environmental skills training of tourism and hospitality employees. The research population included companies and organisations from five tourism subsectors (accommodation establishments, food and beverage outlets, tour operators and travel agents, visitor attractions, and destination management organizations) registered in eight European countries (Italy, Germany, UK, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, and the Netherlands). The paper indicates there is a lack of sufficient trainings on these skills: – Ability to minimize the use and maximize efficiency of energy and water consumption; ability to manage waste, sewage, recycling and composting – Knowledge of climate change; promotion of environmentally friendly products and services – Promotion of sustainable forms of transport (e.g. public transport); and conservation of biodiversity.