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Tourism, Travel and Hospitality

Overview

Provides high-level information on the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry.

The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry is a large and diverse industry and is comprised of a number of sectors:

  • Tourism and Travel
  • Events and Exhibitions
  • Cookery
  • Hospitality.

Nationally recognised training for Tourism, Travel and Hospitality occupations are delivered under the SIT -Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package.

For more information and data specific to Tourism and Travel, Cookery, Hospitality and Events please visit the respective pages. 

All sectors cater to both domestic and international markets and are significant in driving economic growth in Australia, and together the contribution of these sectors to Australia’s GDP is equivalent to over $100 billion. These sectors represent a range of business types and services, which in many cases are interconnected. For example, Tourism incorporates a complex combination of overlapping sectors including those listed above (e.g. Events and Exhibitions, Hotels, Holiday Parks and Resorts, etc.) and impacts the Transportation and Retail sectors. Events and Exhibitions draw on various services, including marketing, audio-visual systems, catering, transport and accommodation. Economic activity is therefore extensive across all these interrelated sectors and additionally impacts many secondary industries.

Information sourced from the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

 

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry has grown considerably over the past decade and there is continuing demand for skilled labour. Employment levels in the Accommodation and Food Industry was at 914,100 in 2018 and is projected to grow further by 2023. This growth has largely been in the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services sector, which by 2023 will have almost doubled since 2000.

The number of program enrolments and program completions in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package have dropped to the lowest level recorded over the past four years. In 2018 there were approximately 188,330 enrolments and close to 60,060 completions. There has also been a decline in subject-only enrolments between 2017 and 2018, but the 2018 figures are still above those recorded in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, there were around 339,250 subject-only enrolments compared to roughly 354,430 in 2017.

For more detailed information on the sectors within the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry, please visit the respective pages.

Industry insights

The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies four key priority soft skills for the industry, and acknowledges that although technical skills are imperative to performing job tasks, the following soft skills are what employers will be looking for above and beyond technical skills:

  • Teamwork and communication
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Problem solving
  • Self-management.

In addition to the above key priority skills, the following generic skills were identified as most important to the industry:

  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence
  • Customer service/Marketing
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Managerial/Leadership
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN).

According to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’S 2019 Skills Forecast, there will be at least an additional 62,000 workers required over the next five years to fill vacancies across Tourism, Travel and Hospitality job roles. Growth in demand across the sectors which make up the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry has been significant over the past decade, and forecasts show this growth is not expected to slow down. The State of the Industry 2017-18 report supports these findings, highlighting that Tourism has experienced nine consecutive years of expenditure growth, with 2017-2018 growth driven by domestic visitors who increased overnight spend by 7.9% to $67.5 billion.

Several challenges currently face the industry as it tries to meet this growing demand for skilled workers, while also achieving growth and success into the future. The significant challenges being experienced in accessing and retaining skilled workers include a decline in enrolments in relevant VET qualifications, graduates not possessing key skills, and reported skills and knowledge shortages in communication, teamwork and problem-solving. The challenges associated with attracting and retaining an appropriately skilled workforce in the Tourism industry are further exacerbated by the nature of the industry being predominantly made up of small businesses, and having a highly casual and seasonal workforce, as identified in the Tourism, Education and Training report.

Further compounding the industry challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled workers, are recent changes to visa 457 legislation which has created additional pressures for employers when trying to access workers. The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also suggests that employers have not been able to fill job roles due to a lack of applicants, and the skills and knowledge-base of applicants and entrants to the industry were also lacking in the key areas of communication, teamwork, problem solving, business skills, online and social media, and general product and service content.

The Australian Trade Commission’s Australian Tourism Labour Force Report: 2015-2020 provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of the tourism labour force and cites a large increase in the proportion of businesses identifying skills deficiencies, with 69% reporting skills deficiencies amongst their staff. It appears that businesses are not finding the skills they need to operate effectively and may affect the productivity and competitiveness of the sector.

In regard to training, the above report indicates that businesses primarily attribute a lack of skills to insufficient experience and workers’ skills not being aligned to the position and not the accessibility to qualified workers. In addition to boosting the numbers of students and trainees in tourism-related training activities, there is also a need to ensure that this training is sufficiently tailored to the Tourism sector’s needs. The report suggests there is scope for the sector to work more closely with training providers to develop packages that better equip workers for on-the-job experience. Such approaches can address regional and occupational nuances. Elements of this approach have already been worked into various Tourism Employment Plans, which have sought to link regional tourism businesses with training providers to develop packages that target the needs of the local industry.

The report also found that knowledge of formal training pathways across the sector was very low among students and parents, while small to medium employers in the sector frequently indicated they valued practical experience over formal qualifications. This is most commonly on the basis that an experienced employee would be less costly to train and deliver value to the business from the outset of their employment, and because formal training has insufficient practical content do deliver ‘work ready’ graduates.

In an attempt to address workforce skills issues, the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast has proposed an update to specific qualifications and skills sets within the training package. Please see the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast for the full list of qualifications and skill sets being reviewed for updates.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Data has been sourced from:

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal by I digit ANZSIC Accommodation and Food Services, and

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit, employment projections to May 2023
    • 440 Accommodation
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality)
    • 722 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument.

  • Employed total, 2000 to 2018, May quarter by I digit ANZSIC Accommodation and Food Services, and the following 3 digit ANZSIC
    • 440 Accommodation
    • 451 Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services
    • 452 Pubs, Taverns and Bars
    • 453 Clubs (Hospitality)
    • 722 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses by Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package.

Priority skills data has been extracted from the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 03 Dec 2019
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