The booming tourism industry has increased the demand for hospitality businesses that cater to this sector. This phenomenon creates opportunities for new businesses to open and for existing ones to expand.
There is an increasing demand for talented personnel for this growth to be sustained. By helping train and develop well-skilled employees in this field, the skill shortage in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry can be mitigated.
The Growing Australian Tourism Sector
Since the last decade, the country’s tourism sector has been on a constant growth. The number of tourists that come to Australia has more than doubled, increasing from 2.5 million visitors in 1992 to about 6.7 million in 2014. The sector grew further, with 9 million tourists visiting Australia as of May 2018, an increase of 6.2% relative to the previous year.
This constant growth in Australia’s tourism industry can somehow be attributed to the booming Asia-Pacific economies. While the US, UK, and New Zealand have historically been key sources of tourists in Australia, about a third of Australian tourist arrivals now come from just three Asian countries, namely China, Japan, and Korea.
Despite this, Australia’s tourism growth sees no slowing down in the coming years. Regardless of the shift in the tourists’ countries of origin, the number of international tourists visiting the country is still expected to hit 15 million by 2027.
This increase in tourists equates to solid financial gains. Recent statistics indicate that the tourism sector was able to account for 3.2% of the national GDP in 2016, up from 2.8% in 2012. Its growth is also outperforming the overall economic growth, expanding to 7.4% compared to the 2.3% growth of the wider economy. The same study also saw that businesses servicing the tourism industry are making up about 31% of the total Australian workforce.
The decreasing number of talents in Travel and Tourism
Unfortunately for the sector, this unprecedented growth is creating a serious problem. Currently, there is an ongoing skills shortage within the industry, which is putting a strain on this sector in filling about 40,000 positions across the country.
The root cause of this decline isn’t exclusive to the tourism industry. From 2012, there have been numerous budget cuts allotted for the education sector that directly affect programmes for vocational education and training, which are essential in creating highly-skilled workers for the affected industries. As a result, overall apprenticeship fell by as much as 28% from 2013 to 2015. This decline has been attributed to certain changes in policies made on both sides of the political aisle, making it harder for small enterprises to get apprentices and train them for jobs.
“The irony for a booming industry like ours is that we still need more people to help fill the tourism and hospitality jobs which help cater for the record number of visitor arrivals and spending we are currently enjoying in Australia.”
– John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
Empowering well-trained and effective job seekers
Because of the vital role of jobactive providers in talent creation, they have a special role in sustaining the existing skills shortage in the industry.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) shows the number of people directly employed in the tourism industry increased by 6% between 2011-12 and 2015-16. According to the National Skills Needs List, the following occupations are in short supply:
- Hotel managers
- Bar attendants
- Cafe and restaurant managers
- Tourism/travel agents
While the government might take a while before they create effective rectifications in education policies, people seeking to join the tourism industry can be helped by taking a few measures.
The government’s programme has seen continued success so far. Just last April, Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash announced that the jobactive programme has already put more than a million Australians to work, with about 80% placed in permanent positions. This shows just how vast and effective the programme is.
Riding the industry’s expected growth with qualified workers
The existing skills shortage within the tourism industry is a major factor that is preventing Australia from harnessing the full potential of the booming tourism industry it is currently enjoying.
Jobactive providers must continue to put their best foot forward. As grassroots workers of the programme, they are instrumental in keeping a healthy job sector. Since jobactive providers are in a unique vantage point, their role in eradicating this shortage is crucial.
By effectively maintaining active relationships with hospitality, travel and tourism businesses, they can help bridge the gap. Jobactive providers can also educate businesses about the tangible benefits of having business owners play their part by giving jobseekers a chance to try out for jobs through work experience programs.
Furthermore, jobactive providers must continue nurturing their connection with job seekers to understand their career goals and try to align it with what the job market demands. When these steps are taken with care, these can eventually help churn out well-trained hospitality industry experts.