Could the tourism industry be facing a serious job shortage? A new report thinks so.
According to the NSW Business Chamber’s mid-term recap on the tourism economy, NSW is facing a serious labour gap, which could be as big as 10,000 jobs in three years.
Per Fairfax, the report claims the recent growth and success of the tourism industry could actually be detrimental in the long run unless we start recruiting a whole lot more people.
In 2016, combined international and domestic spend saw the total overnight spend in Australia reach over $100 billion for the first time.
The same industry accounts for almost 270,000 jobs in the NSW economy alone, with international visitor spending growing more than 15 per cent last year.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, according to the Business Chamber’s report card.
“It is critical the government start now to boost participation in the existing workforce,” the report said.
Growth in the state’s tourism sector is predicted to need an extra 40,000 workers by 2020, but if current trends are anything to go by, we’ll be about 10,000 people short, with the state already under-supplied in accommodation and hospitality workers.
The report suggested expanding tourism focus beyond Sydney in order to evenly spread the load, in particular coming from the burgeoning Chinese market.
“If the NSW government is to grow regional tourism, it needs to provide the funding and policy attention that’s needed, starting with a strategy to boost the dispersal of the lucrative Chinese market,” said the Executive Manager of the NSW Business Chamber, Dean Gorddard, per Fairfax.
“[Regional] tourism operators often lack the necessary support to market their products,” he said.
The report claimed the NSW Riverina and the Northern Rivers region are largely untapped as potential destinations.
The Chamber recommends the state government put more energy into building infrastructure with tourism front of mind, and push plans to develop events outside of the capital city.
It also calls for a change to the ways in which tourism as an industry is managed.
The report pointed out that Sydney is the only major Aussie city that doesn’t have a primary “destination management plan”, going as far as to push for a dedicated portion of cabinet to look after tourism.
Per Fairfax, the state government has announced it will float two separate budgets for regional tourism development, with a pricetag of more than $400 million.
“Growing tourism in rural and regional NSW is a top priority for the NSW government,” NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall said.