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Tourism, Travel and Hospitality


This page provides high-level information on the tourism, travel and hospitality industry.

The tourism, travel and hospitality industry is a large and diverse industry and comprises a number of sectors:

  • Tourism
  • Travel
  • Holiday Parks and Resorts
  • Cookery and Catering
  • Hospitality
  • Exhibitions and Events.

Nationally recognised training for tourism, travel and hospitality occupations is delivered under the 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. 

Information sourced from the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Industry Reference Committee Industry Skills Forecast

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. This growth has largely been in the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services sector. The industry is projected to grow further to 2022, once again particularly in the Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services sector.

The number of program enrolments and program completions in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package has remained reasonably consistent over the period 2014-2016. In 2016 there were approximately 243,000 enrolments and 65,000 completions. There has been considerable growth in subject-only enrolments, growing from 185 000 in 2014 to 316 000 in 2016. The largest subject only enrolments in 2016, accounting for just under 95% of all subject enrolments, were:

  • Provide responsible service of alcohol (172,922 subject only enrolments)
  • Use hygienic practices for food safety (51,316)
  • Provide responsible gambling services (44,888)
  • Participate in safe food handling practices (18,868)
  • Prepare and serve espresso coffee (10,577).

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

Industry insights

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 projects skills demand and shortages forward to 2020. The report shows that there is shortage of approximately 38,000 positions in the tourism industry, and this is projected to grow 123 000 by 2020. The report also cites a large increase in the proportion of businesses identifying skills deficiencies, with 69% reporting skills deficiencies among 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 regards to training, the survey indicated 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 Tourism and hospitality careers report found that employers in the tourism industry identified the following concerns about current tourism & hospitality training and education:

  • courses are not necessarily based on specific workplace needs
  • trainers lack practical industry experience
  • training is too theoretical and not equipping people with key practical skills
  • hospitality courses do not dedicate sufficient time to industry placements
  • insufficient focus on computer/IT skills
  • the perception that students have the attitude that you need to attend but not necessarily learn.  

The report 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 (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 the report Building the capabilities of the travel, tourism and hospitality workforce, Ackehurst and Loveder (2015) find the acquisition of skills in financial management, human resources, workplace health and safety, and business compliance is seen as important to the industry. As the travel, tourism and hospitality industry operates across a diverse range of businesses, promoting portable skill sets and the transferable experiences of workers is equally important.

Ackehurst and Loveder also show that labour supply, ‘attraction’ and recruitment challenges have been identified as constraints to achieving growth in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. In addition, the seasonal nature of some of the employment areas has resulted in the high use of casual labour and retention issues for some segments of the industry.

They also find the occupational return on education and training is relatively lower for students in this industry compared with all vocational trained graduates. Efforts are needed to address perceptions and promote the diverse opportunities and pathways available.

In order to address these concerns about perceptions of employment in hospitality and tourism Austrade commissioned ACIL Allen to develop an outreach strategy for the tourism and hospitality industry with the aim of developing and disseminating positive messaging to influence career perceptions and to attract people into the industry. The report Career and jobs outreach strategy outlines a six-tiered approach, which is centred on web-based and social media platforms to promote education and training and careers in hospitality and tourism.

According to Service Skills Australia’s Tourism and hospitality workforce insights approaches to workforce development in the tourism industry cannot be ‘one-size fits all’, as the industry is varied and have different workforce development needs depending on sector and size. Instead workforce development and training needs to be tailored and targeted. 

In addition to these key national reports and strategies discussed above, there are a number of jurisdictional and regional reports and plans which look at the tourism workforce in specific states, territories and regional areas. These reports are available on the websites listed in the Links and Resources section available below.

Links and resources

Government bodies

APEC Tourism Working Group

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)                                                                                           

Destination NSW

South Australian Tourism Commission

Tourism & Events Queensland

Tourism Australia

Tourism Research Australia                                                       

Tourism NT        

Tourism Tasmania                                         

Tourism Victoria                             

Tourism Western Australia           

Visit Canberra

Visit Victoria


State-based industry associations

NSW Business Chamber - Tourism

Queensland Tourism Industry Council

South Australian Tourism Industry Council

Tasmanian Hospitality Association

Tourism Council of WA

Victoria Tourism Industry Council


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Accommodation Association of Australia

Australian Culinary Federation

Australian Federation of Travel Agents Ltd

Australian Hotels Association

Australian Regional Tourism Network

Australian Tourism Export Council

Caravan Industry Association of Australia

Clubs Australia

Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia

Guiding Organisations Australia

International Air Transport Association

International Association of Tour Guides

Restaurant & Catering Australia

Tourism Accommodation Australia

Tourism Hospitality Catering Institute of Australia

Tourism and Transport Forum Australia

YHA Australia


Employee associations

Australian Services Union

United Voice


Relevant research

State of the industry 2016 - Tourism Research Australia

Data sources and notes

Data has been sourced from:

Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Industry Reference Committee Industry Skills Forecast

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

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <>

Updated: 02 Oct 2018
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