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‘Tourism’ contributes an estimated 3.2% to the economy in Wales with visitors spending approximately £3 billion a year. The sector is a significant employer across Wales. The sector employs around 88,100 people, approximately 7.4% of the total workforce.

Wales is particularly dependent on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with very few large sector employers operating in the country. Hotel and restaurant chains are most prevalent in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. Self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, cafes and Asian and Oriental restaurants, are most likely to be run by independent operators. Many accommodation, restaurant, pub and travel agency owner/managers are self-employed, as are many tourist guides.

10% of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce in Wales are self-employed. 57% of the sector workforce is employed on a part-time basis and8% on a temporary basis.

The sector employs a very young workforce with 14% under the age of 20 and around a third aged between 20-29 years. 58% of the workforce is female, but few women work in senior positions within the sector. 94% of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce in Wales describe their ethnicity as white. Approximately 11% of the workforce was born overseas.

29% of sector businesses in Wales did not replace permanent staff that had left during the last 12 months. In addition, 5% had made permanent staff redundant and 20% were employing fewer temporary staff. 14% of businesses have cancelled plans to expand their workforce. 83 fewer sector-related jobs were advertised in Jobcentres in Wales in November 2009 compared with November 2008. There were particularly large declines in the number of vacancies for kitchen and catering assistants, chefs and waiting staff.

18% of hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism establishments report a skills gap within their current workforce. Approximately 9% of the workforce is deemed by their employers to be not fully proficient (6,831 employees), higher than the average across all industries of 6%.

Across the sector, 13% of the workforce does not hold any formal qualifications. 50% of employers in the sector provided off-the-job training to their staff in 2005, lower than the average for all sectors (58%).

Source: Wales Sector Skills Assessments 2010