Travel Daily

Tourism worker shortage


QUEENSLAND’S pandemicim­pacted tourism industry is facing another hurdle as operators struggle to find workers, University of Queensland Associate Professor Richard Robinson believes.

The UQ Business School researcher is investigat­ing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s tourism workforce, developing a Crisis Resilience & Recovery Plan with the support of the Queensland Government.

Robinson has conducted 15 consultati­on workshops with tourism industry operators across five of the state’s regions – Tropical North Queensland, Southern Queensland, Outback Queensland, the Whitsunday­s and the Gold Coast - finding operators in Tropical North Qld had suffered the most, with a loss of both internatio­nal tourists and the int’l labour market, such as working holiday visa holders.

The latest tourism figures show a 48.9% drop in visitors to Tropical North Queensland, while the Outback boomed with a record winter season from Australian travellers.

The newly formed crisis strategy is also focused on three industry groups who are experienci­ng the pandemic differentl­y – employees, businesses, and stakeholde­rs.

Firms in marine and Indigenous tourism were most impacted, while both tourism operators and employees rated job security as the biggest impact of the pandemic.

Financial support such as JobKeeper improved work opportunit­ies, and a strong sense of community helped boost workforce confidence mid-last year, but this has since declined again in 2021 due to continued lockdowns and border closures.

“Tourism operators are really struggling to get workers in their regions due to the uncertaint­y of domestic and internatio­nal border closures,” Robinson said.

“The key concerns that came up in the consultati­ons were mostly around job security, financial hardship, wellbeing and skilled labour shortages.

See the full report HErE.

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