Making the most of state’s tourism boom

Usually, when a Tasmanian industry booms, that is followed by a skills shortage.

Skills shortages are whenestablished and new businesses struggle to find enough appropriately qualified workers to perform all the work those businesses could potentially be doing.

A relatively recent example was the mining boom, when companies often found themselves paying over the odds for workers because qualified workers were in such high demand.

Tourism, which is going gangbusters in Tasmania, is running up against its own skills shortages.

The numbers of people with the relevant skills can be expected to increase over time, but efforts to speed the process have potential to strengthen the industry in a more timely fashion.

Timely, in this case, means extra jobs and extra state income.

A key task for the industry will be developing career paths, and the perception that true careerpaths exist beyond basic and often part-time roles.

Cradle Coast Regional Tourism manager Ian Waller said: “People see the hospitality and tourism sector as a part-time job, yet there are people who have toured the world on the back of service providers.”

“We’ve got to get people to understand that it does open enormous doors for people, so, therefore, it’s a reason to enter the industry.”

Related to that is a pilot tourism employment plan for the region, launched during the week by federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck.

Covering the North-West and West Coast, targeting skills shortages is one of its areas of focus.

Senator Colbeck noted the region had a high unemployment rate, so dealing with tourism skills shortages could help solve two issues.

As with most industries, not everyone is suited to tourism.

However, there are many people in the region not employed or who do not work as many hours as they want who would fit wellinto tourism with the right training.

Tourism Tasmaniafigures underline the industry’s recent growth.

Visitor numbers were up by 8 per cent to 1.15 million in 2015.

Visitor nights increased by 8 per cent, to 10.02 million, with spending up by 11 per cent to $1.95 billion.

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