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Overview

This page provides information and data on the Tourism, Travel and Accommodation sectors.

The Tourism industry encapsulates all businesses that provide goods or services to facilitate leisure and business activities away from the ‘home’ environment. Tourism has become one of the largest industries in Australia, serving the needs of both domestic and international visitors within the country.

Tourism generally represents the delivery of services to visitors (both domestic and international) who travel for personal, leisure and/or business-related purposes.

Tourism is one of five key ‘super-growth sectors’ driving new jobs and growth in the economy over the next decade and is a key driver of the nation’s economy:

  • Tourism directly contributed $55.3 billion to Australia’s GDP in 2016/2017
  • Australia hosted 8.4 million international visitors and 102.7 million domestic visitors in the year ending September 2018
  • Tourism is estimated to be employing approximately 924,000 Australians, across a diversity of job roles.

The Travel sector encompasses travel agencies and tour arrangement agencies which act as intermediaries in distributing travel services on behalf of service producers. The sector has been experiencing strong growth over the past five years and generated $8.2 billion in revenue in 2017/2018. There is estimated to be 32,590 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in the travel sector, with demand for workers strong as 43% of travel agencies having highlighted a need to employ new staff in 2018.

The accommodation sector incorporates aspects of the Hospitality and Tourism sector and primarily provides customers access to resorts, hotels, holiday parks, caravan parks and camping grounds that offer options for either short-term or long-term accommodation. During 2017/2018 international visitors spent 271 million nights away from their residential home for travel purposes, while domestic visitors spent 368.2 million nights away from home. Some degree of revenue growth has been experienced by all forms of accommodation types with serviced apartments leading the way at 5.9% over the past five years. The accommodation sector’s workforce is estimated to comprise of 112,400 workers.

Nationally recognised training in the Tourism sector is delivered under the SIT - Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package.

For more information the Cookery, Hospitality, and Events industries, please click the respective links. 

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 Forecast

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level in the Tourism sector has been variable between industries, with Accommodation declining overall, from around 113,400 in 2000 to 105,600 in 2019 and peaking at 117,200 in 2017. Both Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services, and Museum Operation have increased overall between 2000 and 2019, however both sectors are expected to decline slightly over the next five years to 2024. The Accommodation sector is, however, predicted to increase to around 112,900 by 2024.

Key occupations in the Tourism sector which are projected to grow by more than 5% in the coming years include:

  • Tourism and Travel Advisers (9%)
  • Gallery, Museum and Tour Guides (14%)
  • Advertising Public Relations and Sales Managers (14%)
  • Conference and Event Organisers (16%).

Ticket Salespersons is the only occupation projected to decline by 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Tourism-related qualifications decreased from approximately 27,090 in 2015 to close to 18,660 in 2018. Completions also declined, from 10,730 in 2015 to around 6,780 in 2018. Almost half of all enrolments were at the certificate III (48%), followed by certificate II (24%) and certificate IV (16%) level. The majority of training was in Tourism (42%), Travel (29%) and Tourism and Travel (15%) qualifications, with the main intended occupations of Travel Consultant, Tourism and Travel Advisor, and Tourist Information Officer.   

Over half of all training was delivered by private training providers (55%), while TAFE institutes delivered 34% of training. TAFE institutes were more likely to deliver training for Guiding-related qualifications (96%), while private training providers were notably higher for the delivery of Travel-related qualifications (74%). Overall, 57% of training was Commonwealth and state funded, although this was much higher for schools (97%) and community education providers (94%). Domestic fee for service accounted for more than one quarter (29%) of overall funding, while international fee for service made up the remaining 15%.  

The state with the highest proportion of students was Queensland (29%), followed by New South Wales (21%) and Victoria (15%). Approximately 12% of students were located overseas. 

The majority of training was delivered in Queensland (31%) and New South Wales (30%), followed by 15% in Victoria and 12% in Western Australia.

More than 3,540 apprentices and trainees commenced in 2018, with close to 1,580 completions. Commencements decreased marginally from 2016 and 2017 figures (approximately 3,670 and 3,640 respectively), while commencements declined from 2,410 in 2017. The main intended occupation was that of a Travel Consultant. The highest proportion of apprentices in training were reported in Queensland (28%), followed by New South Wales (25%) and Victoria (21%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the top priority skills for the industry (inclusive of the Tourism, Travel and Accommodation sectors) are:

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

In addition, the top key generic skills for the industry (inclusive of the Tourism, Travel and Accommodation sectors) as identified by the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast are:

  • 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).

The top accommodation service-related occupations reported by the job advertisement data as being in demand included Domestic Cleaners, Chefs, and Waiters, with the Marriott and Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC identified as the top employers. In addition, the top generic skills in demand for this sector, as per job vacancy data, were communication skills and detail orientated.

The most common Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement related occupations reported by the job advertisement data as being in demand was Tourism and Travel Advisors, with Flight Centre Australia and STA Travel identified as the top employers. In addition, the top generic skills in demand for this sector, as per job vacancy data, were communication skills and computer literacy.

Several factors have been identified in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast as providing challenges and opportunities to the industry, including changes around government legislation and regulation, skills and knowledge shortages, limited career progression, staff retention, and new technologies and digitisation.

Recent reforms to international skilled visa eligibility conditions that came into effect in 2018 have resulted in stricter conditions for gaining working visas in Australia, and as a result are disrupting the workforce landscape with employers reporting additional barriers to accessing skilled workers in Australia. In addition, there has been an increase of 11% since 2011 of employers reporting skills deficiencies in the workforce, and it is estimated that by 2020 there will be a skills shortage of 30,000 additional workers in the Tourism sector. A multitude of factors have been blamed for these skills shortages, including a lack of experience in tourism, mismatch of skills, limited access to training and low retention rates in training courses.

Although the industry offers a variety of career pathways, it has been suggested in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast that many of these pathways are unknown, and the prevalence of young and casual workers may create the perception that career pathways are limited. Steps are being taken to streamline qualifications and create new pathways to support the entry to, and visibility of, career progression across the sector. Linking into the prevalence of a young and casual workforce is the challenge of staff retention. The median age of the workforce is 26, significantly lower than the national average of 40 years. Therefore, younger workers tend to have other commitments such as study, and employers have raised concerns about attitude and reliability among the sectors workforce. In addition, regional areas are impacted by the migration of younger workers to cities and coastal areas, resulting in a limited pool of workers. The importance of creating visible career pathways has been reflected in the Queensland Tourism Workforce Plan, which suggests the industry needs to develop a distinct brand that promotes the industry as a desirable career opportunity.

New technology and digitisation has meant the required skills of the workforce are changing and will continue to change to reflect new working environments. Some of the key technological changes impacting the Tourism, Travel and Accommodation sectors include:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) being used by businesses for content marketing to enhance the customers experience
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Travel Bots are used as virtual chatbots and assistants to address holiday and travel enquiries
  • M-commerce which includes buying and selling via smartphones and tablets, including mobile content purchases such as those made via ‘apps’.

The South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030 clearly outlines the importance of front-line capability among tourism businesses in order to sustain and grow towards future revenue and tourism targets. Through widespread industry consultation as a part of formulating this plan for the South Australian visitor economy, it was identified that industry requires ongoing development and training in a range of areas, including ongoing business training, digital skills enhancement, customer service standards, tailoring experiences to emerging markets, encouraging entrepreneurship, professionalisation of business delivery, development and availability of commissionable products, and availability of quality consumer research to underpin operational and investment decisions.

Changing consumer preferences have been noticed in the Accommodation sector, with accommodation preferences among travellers changing over time according to the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. This includes the growth in popularity of caravan parks and camping grounds (an increase of 9% between 2017 and 2018, mainly attributed to younger visitors aged 20 to 29), as well as licensed serviced apartments being a particularly popular choice among international and domestic visitors as an alternative to hotels. In addition, the State of the Industry 2017-18 report highlights growth and use of accommodation platforms like Airbnb, almost one in ten (9%) international visitors booked accommodation through Airbnb alone in 2017/2018.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit, employment projections to May 2023
    • 722 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services
    • 891 Museum Operation
    • 440 Accommodation.
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 4516 Tourism and Travel Advisers
    • 1421 Retail Managers
    • 6394 Ticket Salespersons
    • 1311 Advertising Public Relations and Sales Managers
    • 4514 Gallery Museum and Tour Guides
    • 5111 Contract Program and Project Administrators
    • 1493 Conference and Event Organisers
    • 1412 Caravan Park and Camping Ground Managers
    • 8991 Caretakers.

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
    • 722 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services
    • 891 Museum Operation
    • 440 Accommodation.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by selected industries and selected 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • SIT07 Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package
  • Guiding
    • SIT30316 - Certificate III in Guiding
    • SIT30512 - Certificate III in Guiding
    • SIT30513 - Certificate III in Guiding
    • SIT40112 - Certificate IV in Guiding
    • SIT40216 - Certificate IV in Guiding
  • Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT30416 - Certificate III in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT31209 - Certificate III in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT31212 - Certificate III in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT40316 - Certificate IV in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT40809 - Certificate IV in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT40812 - Certificate IV in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT50216 - Diploma of Holiday Park and Resort Management
    • SIT50409 - Diploma of Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT50412 - Diploma of Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT20509 - Certificate II in Holiday Parks and Resorts
    • SIT20512 - Certificate II in Holiday Parks and Resorts
  • Tourism
    • SIT10107 - Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture)
    • SIT10112 - Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture)
    • SIT10116 - Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture)
    • SIT20107 - Certificate II in Tourism
    • SIT20112 - Certificate II in Tourism
    • SIT20116 - Certificate II in Tourism
    • SIT30107 - Certificate III in Tourism
    • SIT30112 - Certificate III in Tourism
    • SIT30116 - Certificate III in Tourism
    • SIT30207 - Certificate III in Tourism (Retail Travel Sales)
    • SIT30407 - Certificate III in Tourism (Visitor Information Services)
    • SIT30507 - Certificate III in Tourism (Guiding)
    • SIT40107 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Guiding)
    • SIT40207 - Certificate IV in Tourism
    • SIT50107 - Diploma of Tourism
    • THT20502 - Certificate II in Tourism (Operations)
    • SIT60107 - Advanced Diploma of Tourism
  • Travel and Tourism and Tourism Management
    • SIT30212 - Certificate III in Travel
    • SIT30216 - Certificate III in Travel
    • SIT31312 - Certificate III in Travel
    • SIT40116 - Certificate IV in Travel and Tourism
    • SIT40212 - Certificate IV in Travel and Tourism
    • SIT50112 - Diploma of Travel and Tourism
    • SIT60112 - Advanced Diploma of Travel and Tourism
    • SIT50116 - Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management
    • SIT60116 - Advanced Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management
  • Other
    • SIT30307 - Certificate III in Tourism (Tour Wholesaling)
    • THC10199 - Certificate I in Caravan Park Operations
    • THC20404 - Certificate II in Caravan Park Operations
    • THC20499 - Certificate II in Caravan Park Operations
    • THC30404 - Certificate III in Caravan Park Operations
    • THC30499 - Certificate III in Caravan Park Operations
    • THC40404 - Certificate IV in Caravan Park Supervision
    • THC40499 - Certificate IV in Caravan Park Supervision
    • THC50199 - Diploma of Caravan Park Management
    • THC50404 - Diploma of Caravan Park Management
    • THT20298 - Certificate II in Tourism (Attractions and Theme Parks)
    • THT20398 - Certificate II in Tourism (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Cultural Guiding)
    • THT20498 - Certificate II in Tourism (Guiding)
    • THT30198 - Certificate III in Tourism (Meetings and Events)
    • THT30202 - Certificate III in Tourism (Retail Travel Sales)
    • THT30298 - Certificate III in Tourism (Retail Travel Sales)
    • THT30302 - Certificate III in Tourism (International Retail Travel Sales)
    • THT30398 - Certificate III in Tourism (International Retail Travel Sales)
    • THT30498 - Certificate III in Tourism (Tour Operations)
    • THT30502 - Certificate III in Tourism (Tour Wholesaling)
    • THT30598 - Certificate III in Tourism (Tour Wholesaling)
    • THT30602 - Certificate III in Tourism (Visitor Information Services)
    • THT30698 - Certificate III in Tourism (Visitor Information Services)
    • THT30702 - Certificate III in Tourism (Attractions and Theme Parks)
    • THT30798 - Certificate III in Tourism (Attractions and Theme Parks)
    • THT30898 - Certificate III in Tourism (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Cultural Guiding)
    • THT30902 - Certificate III in Tourism (Guiding)
    • THT30998 - Certificate III in Tourism (Guiding)
    • THT31002 - Certificate III in Tourism (Operations)
    • THT40102 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Sales & Marketing)
    • THT40198 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Sales and Marketing)
    • THT40202 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Operations)
    • THT40298 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Team Leading)
    • THT40302 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Guiding)
    • THT40398 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Guiding)
    • THT40402 - Certificate IV in Tourism (Natural and Cultural Heritage)
    • THT50102 - Diploma of Tourism (Marketing and Product Development)
    • THT50198 - Diploma of Tourism (Marketing and Product Development)
    • THT50298 - Diploma of Tourism (Meetings and Events Management)
    • THT50302 - Diploma of Tourism (Operations Management)
    • THT50398 - Diploma of Tourism (Operations Management)
    • THT60102 - Advanced Diploma of Tourism Management
    • THT60198 - Advanced Diploma of Tourism Management.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

SIT07 Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

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

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • Managers
    • Technicians and Trades Workers
    • Community and Personal Service Workers
    • 722 Travel Agency and Tour Arrangement Services.
  • Employers
    • 4516 Tourism and Travel Advisors
    • 1311 Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers
    • 1421 Retail Managers
    • 4514 Gallery, Museum and Tour Guides
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers
    • 722 Agency and Tour Arrangement Services.
Updated: 02 Apr 2020
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