The UK's tourism industry - which is worth £126bn to the economy- is at risk of grinding to a halt due to a growing skills gap and record number of visitors, council leaders have warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the tourism sector is facing a jobs 'black hole' as it needs an extra 1.3 million new employees by 2024 to cope with the rapid growth of tourism in the UK.
However, research shows that 38% of hospitality and tourism businesses are struggling to fill vacancies, and Brexit could exacerbate the skills shortage as 46% as EU nationals make up 46% of the sector's workforce.
The LGA is calling on the Government to devolve skills and employment schemes to local councils to enable better target funding training and apprenticeships.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: 'It is crucial that Government supports councils in providing residents and young people with resources and training.
'As the employment market changes over the next few years, there could be an array of opportunities in the tourism sector, but it is vital that councils are able to direct skills funding to meet the increasing demand for skills in the industry.'