Latest News

Back to Latest News back


ATEC highlights skill shortages to present challenges when international tourism recommences

ATEC highlights skill shortages to present challenges when international tourism recommences
November 23, 2021

While the inbound tourism industry welcomes news that visitors from Japan and South Korea along with Working Holiday Makers will commence returning from 1st December - marking relief following 20 long months without international visitors - there are challenges ahead for Australia’s export tourism industry which has been closed since March 2020.

ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley today advised “Australian tourism businesses, particularly those solely focused on servicing the international visitor market, have been holding tight for the resumption of international travel but there are some significant challenges ahead.

“Most notably we have an industry which is critically understaffed for both skilled and unskilled workers and this is going to have an impact on the experience the industry can offer and our reputation for delivering high quality authentic experiences for international visitors may be at risk.

“As predicted a great number of tourism workers were laid off and many have moved on to new jobs outside of the industry, leaving tourism operators without a ready workforce to draw on as they begin to ramp back up.  

“Ultimately this will mean restrictions on what tourism operators can offer and their ability to scale up to meet demand as the number of international visitors increases with easing borders restrictions.

Shelley added “sadly anecdotal evidence suggests border closures and a lack of clarity on what and when international markets will be open is driving workers away from the industry and towards sectors which can offer job security, certainty and confidence. 

“Tourism operators have no real sense of what volume of business they can expect from post COVID international travel which is making it even more difficult to commit to upscaling and bringing back staff.”

Shelley said enquiries for travel to Australia over the coming year are increasing but intending travellers have a lot of questions about their journey which need to be resolved. 

“While people are excited at the thought of international travel, most are waiting to see what post-COVID travel will look like and want to be confident they won't experience last minute disruptions and changes. 

“In the longer term we can see good signs for recovery with interest and demand from the market but indications are that many intending leisure travellers will hold off booking in the short term which will mean a slow recovery for our export tourism industry.

“While we hear there is pent up demand and that Australia continues to be viewed favourably, most inquiries relate to leisure travel from April 2022 onwards.”

“The current challenge confronting a fragile tourism industry is the need for businesses to invest in the short term in order to convert these enquiries into bookings. These business expenses are being incurred by tourism operators right now for guests who will arrive six months from now and with payment not being made until they have returned home.

“Managing the gap between expenses incurred and the receipt of payment for a cash-strapped industry will be a bridge too far for some.”

Related Articles

22nd November 2021 - Australian borders to open for fully vaccinated international students from 1st December

18th November 2021 - UNIFIED Music Group partners with Collarts to address Australian music industry’s urgent post-COVID skills shortage

16th November 2021 - Lifeguard shortages create reopening challenges for Victoria’s seasonal pools

29th October 2021 - Tourism and Transport Forum advise skills shortage hinders industry recovery

27th September 2021 - Financial losses and staff shortages significantly jeopardise the New Zealand Events industry

22nd September 2021 - Australian Regional Tourism adds voice to fears over skills and workforce shortages

16th September 2021 - Reopening Queensland tourism operators set to face staff shortages

5th September 2021 - Staff shortages result in long F&B queues during AFL semi-final at Perth’s Optus Stadium

4th June 2021 - Staff shortages set to impact opening of Luna Park Sydney’s new rides

18th May 2021 - Royal Life Saving highlights lifeguard and swim teacher shortage as providing opportunities for job seekers

18th May 2021 - Lifeguard shortage sees weekend closure of Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre

18th March 2021 - Drastic shortage of swim teachers puts young Australians at risk

21st December 2020 - Staff shortages see closure of Cowra Aquatic Centre

23rd October 2020 - Coromandel businesses concerned about staff shortages through summer

20th February 2020 - Report shows chronic skills shortage in the events industry

26th August 2019 - NSW Arts Minister concedes shortage of theatres in Sydney

9th August 2019 - Western Australian aquatic centres report identifies industry labour shortages

21st July 2018 - Lifeguard shortage leads to closure of one in three Hong Kong aquatic centres

20th July 2017 - Growing Victorian tourism sector impacted by ongoing skills shortages

17th July 2017 - Skills shortage reaching crisis levels in New Zealand’s service industry

3rd March 2016 - New research project to address critical wildlife nesting shortage on World Wildlife Day

5th November 2015 - Staff and skills shortage impacts tourism businesses

10th March 2015 - 14 million jobs at risk due to global tourism talent shortage