Delivering the European Skills Agenda: the importance of social skills for a sustainable tourism and hospitality industry



Social skills, soft skills, sustainable tourism, hospitality, European skills agenda, social and soft skills training


The research presents the results of a quantitative survey of senior managers’ evaluation of proficiency of employees’ social skills completed in 2019 within the framework of the Next Tourism Generation Alliance, a European Commission funded project. The current and future levels of proficiency, social skills gaps and training are assessed. The sample includes 1404 respondents from organisations across eight countries in Europe in five tourism and hospitality sectors (hospitality, food & beverage, tour-operators, visitor attractions and DMOs). Results show significant country-based differences and variations according to the type of organisation, operational sector and organisation size. The required future levels of the social skills are strongly related to their current levels. Two clusters are identified based on the management perceptions of employees’ social skills gaps. Respondents in the first cluster (N=871) see only small gaps between the current and required future proficiency levels of social skills in their organisations while respondents in the second cluster (N=533) perceive much larger gaps. The findings indicate a need to develop holistic social skill training and education which supports quality customer experiences and sustainable tourism criteria.

Author Biography

  • Stanislav Ivanov, Varna University of Management
    PhD, Professor


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Tourism/Hospitality: Research Papers

How to Cite

Carlisle, S., Ivanov, S., & Espeso-Molinero, P. (2024). Delivering the European Skills Agenda: the importance of social skills for a sustainable tourism and hospitality industry. Tourism & Management Studies, 19(3), 23-40.

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