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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 and Travel
  • Events and Exhibitions
  • Cookery
  • Hospitality.

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

For more information and data specific to Tourism, Travel and Holiday Parks and Resorts, 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. They 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 2017 Skills Forecast and the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

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 remained reasonably consistent between 2014 and 2017. In 2017 there were approximately 233,000 enrolments and almost 70,000 completions. There has been considerable growth in subject-only enrolments, growing from approximately 185,000 in 2014 to over 354,000 in 2017.

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 until 2020. The report shows that there is shortage of approximately 38,000 positions in the Tourism industry, and this is projected to grow to 123,000 by 2020. The report also 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 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 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. 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 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 are 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 Tourism and Hospitality, 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 Tourism and Hospitality.

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 has different workforce development needs depending on sector and size. Instead, workforce development and training needs to be tailored and targeted. 

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

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


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

Tourism Research Australia State of the industry 2016

Data sources and notes

Data has been sourced from:

The 2017 and 2018 Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC's Skills Forecasts. 

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

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

  • 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
Updated: 16 Sep 2019
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