It felt like a bad omen that, at the Maine Office of Tourism’s annual industry conference, a late-season snowstorm forced labor commissioner Jeanne Paquette to drop out of a discussion on the conference’s main theme, workforce development. An innocuous-sounding topic, but just the thought of “workforce development” can give innkeepers cold sweats nowadays. Considering that tourists spent almost $6 billion in Maine last year, 6 percent more than the year before, generating some $600 million in tax revenue, the tenor of the MOT event should have been jolly. Instead, a pall hung over the roomful of restaurateurs and hotel owners, because even as business has surged, the supply of seasonal workers has dwindled. Hardly anyone in the tourist trade can hire enough waitresses, hosts, or housekeepers for the busy summer months.
Read the full story at DownEast: “A sudden paucity of waitstaff, hosts, and housekeepers has Maine’s hospitality industry feeling the heat this year”