Tourism Talent Challenge

Guest editor(s)
Xi Y. Leung, Adele Ladkin,
Submissions open 1st September 2022

The tourism and hospitality industry has been long known for its low wage, long hours and weekend work, and emotional labor. Thus, talent management, or how to recruit, retain, and develop an engaged workforce, has played a critical role in the tourism industry (Barron et al., 2014). Researchers have demonstrated that successful talent management not only directly affects employees' job performance, but also indirectly impacts organizational outcomes, especially financial outcomes (Capelleras et al., 2021).  

The current COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on the global tourism and hospitality workforce, causing unprecedented challenges to tourism talent management (Girish et al., 2022). The COVID-19 crisis not only brought travel to a standstill, causing massive revenue losses, but also amplified disadvantages for working in the tourism industry. During the pandemic, the increasing job insecurity and vulnerability caused a large number of tourism workers voluntarily and involuntarily leave the industry (Baum et al., 2020). According to WTTC (2021a), 62 million tourism jobs were lost worldwide in 2020, accounting for almost 20% of the global tourism workforce. 

As the global tourism industry is recovering from the pandemic, one of the most significant talent management challenges the tourism industry faces is severe labor shortages. In a recent report, WTTC (2021b) uncovered a prolonged tourism labor shortfall: around one in 13 positions would remain unfilled in 2022. The anxiety, confusion, and enhanced risk perception caused by the pandemic lowered people’s desire to pursue a job in the tourism industry. The challenge for tourism and hospitality businesses competing for talent extends beyond the tourism industry as fierce competition from other service industry sectors is growing (King et al., 2021). Thus, the tourism industry needs to find smart ways to attract and retain talent for sustainable development (Girish et al., 2022; Sun et al., 2022). 

Tourism Review is developing a virtual special issue dedicated to the global tourism talent challenge, human resources management, and organizational behavior in the tourism/hospitality industry, to be published in 2023. We hope to bring together all knowledge and expertise to support the global tourism and hospitality industry for a speedy, healthy, and sustainable recovery. The special issue welcomes contributions that use theory, research, and best practice from around the world to support the restart of the tourism industry and confront the growing tourism talent challenge.  

Sample topics include but are not limited to the following:  

  • New and innovative human resource management approaches and practices in tourism/hospitality 

  • Sustainable work and employment systems in tourism/hospitality 

  • Thriving workforce in the contemporary context of the global tourism industry 

  • Tourism workforce diversity in the post-pandemic world 

  • The mobility of workers and the migrant labour force 

  • Information & communications technology in human resource management  

  • New HR opportunities/challenges facing tourism/hospitality businesses 

  • HR/OB theory extension/development in tourism/hospitality 


Submission Guidelines 

Submission deadline: Submit as soon as possible but before November 30, 2022

Papers submitted to this special issue must select correct issue (Tourism Talent Challenge) when submitting to the online submission system. The SI submission portal will be open September 1, 2022.  

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Cece Leung, Associate Editor [email protected]  


Tourism Review  

The Clarivate Impact Factor is 7.689 (2021), up from 5.947 (2020), 2.908 (2019) and 1.06 (2018). It is a Q1 Journal and ranks the 10th top journal in the tourism and hospitality field. 

The Scopus CiteScore grew from 2.1 in 2019 to 4.5 in 2020 and 8.2 in 2021. The Scopus CiteScoreTrackerJUNE2022 was 9.1. 



Barron, P., Leask, A., & Fyall, A. (2014). Engaging the multi-generational workforce in tourism and hospitality. Tourism Review, 69(4), 245-263. 

Baum, T., Mooney, S. K., Robinson, R. N., & Solnet, D. (2020). COVID-19’s impact on the hospitality workforce–new crisis or amplification of the norm?. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(9), 2813-2829 

Capelleras, J. L., Domi, S., & Belletti, G. (2021). Skill-enhancing human resource practices and firm performance: the mediating role of innovativeness. Tourism Review, 76(6), 1279-1296. 

Girish, V. G., Lee, J.-Y., Lee, C.-K., & Olya, H. (2022). Smart working in the travel agencies and employees’ quality of life. Tourism Review, 77(4), 989-1008. 

King, C., Madera, J. M., Lee, L., Murillo, E., Baum, T., & Solnet, D. (2021). Reimagining attraction and retention of hospitality management talent–A multilevel identity perspective. Journal of Business Research, 136, 251-262. 

Sun, J., Leung, X. Y., Zhang, H., & Williams, K. (2022). Attracting Generation Z talents to the hospitality industry through COVID CSR practices. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 34(4), 1587-1606. 

WTTC (2021). Economic impact reports. 

WTTC (2021, December 16). U.S. Travel & Tourism saw labor shortfall of almost 700,000 in 2021.