New workers needed for a predicted tourist flood
Thousands more skilled workers will be required to show off the state in the next decade, Tourism Writer Stuart Innes reports.
AN increasing number of international tourists visiting South Australia is predicted to demand about 8000 new skilled workers for the tourism industry by 2020, research finds.
Tourism as a whole, including international, interstate and intrastate, is already measured as a $4.4 billion-a-year industry to SA, accounting for more than 55,000 jobs in the state.
But a 2020 Tourism Industry Potential report finds scope for a big increase in international tourism to Australia, meaning a major lift in money spent by visitors.
And being comparatively labourintensive, the 24/7 tourism industry means many more jobs to cater for the demand.
Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy told the Australian Tourism Exchange last month that having enough workers could be a choking point in reaching that full potential.
International tourism into Australia is valued at $70 billion a year.
The current trend would take it to $97 billion a year by 2020.
But Mr McEvoy says the potential is for $115 billion by then and a ‘‘stretch goal’’ is $140 billion, or double the current spending.
That will require 50,000 more hotel rooms – 4000 of them in SA – Mr McEvoy says, plus a 40 to 50 per cent increase in international air capacity coming in and 25 per cent more domestic flights. That all means more jobs.
Tourism, currently accounting for 500,000 jobs in Australia, will need to grow to 600,000 jobs by 2020, Mr McEvoy says. That 100,000 growth includes about 8000 jobs in SA.
‘‘The biggest challenge,’’ Mr McEvoy says of achieving the potential growth, ‘‘is in labour and skills in an almost fully-employed nation.’’
For example, the surge in growth of Asian, particularly Chinese, tourism into SA has led to Chinesespeaking guides being put on certain tours here. The availability of Chinese-speaking staff is an issue cited by South Australian Tourism Industry Council chief executive Ward Tilbrook.
The Federal Government has been surveying tourism operators to detect ‘‘hot spots’’ geographically or job skills where supply does not meet demand.
Jobs wholly or partly reliant on tourism are diverse – from 747 pilots to hotel housekeepers, airport bus drivers to tour guides, hotel chefs and waiters to booking