South Australian tourism operators are citing skills shortages as a key concern as the industry seeks to recover from COVID-19.
RAA Travel recently partnered with the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia – TiCSA – to hold a series of roadshows in vital South Australian tourism locations, to get local operators’ views on challenges faced by the industry at this critical juncture.
As part of these roadshows, RAA Travel and TiCSA engaged with more than 250 tourism operators from 10 different SA regions. We also connected them with local politicians and decision-makers, in the hope their voices will be heard and acted upon.
RAA Travel General Manager Gina Norman said a key concern for those in attendance was the challenge of attracting and retaining staff.
“At a time when many operators are seeking to build their workforce to take advantage of borders reopening, other effects of COVID-19 on the industry have made that a difficult task,” Ms Norman said.
“A lack of international workers, perceived lack of job security and increasing cost of housing or lack of availability, were all cited as reasons for the shortage of skilled workers.
“That’s why RAA Travel is calling for a state-wide strategy and approach to regional tourism employment – to address these issues and help re-build operator capacity.”
Ripe for recovery
In 2019, before COVID-19 closed interstate and overseas borders, SA’s tourism industry was worth more than $8bn per year. That number was almost halved in 2020, but is now steadily increasing as visitor numbers begin to return.
The State Government’s recently announced round of Business Hardship grants are a much-needed lifeline for businesses, but tourism operators remain concerned about how they will manage their recovery now that many workers have left the industry. What became clear in RAA Travel and TiCSA’s discussions with operators is that the issues driving this trend are multi-faceted.
“Many businesses also believe a lack of adequate training and upskilling for workers has contributed to the pressures they’re currently feeling.
“We believe now is the time to respond with a whole of government response to address these concerns, to ensure South Australia remains a vibrant holiday destination for years to come.”
Standing up for the tourism economy
As one of South Australia’s oldest travel agencies, RAA Travel has long recognised the importance of tourism in our state. We’re passionate about removing any barriers for holidaymakers, ensuring it’s easy for people to get out and visit the myriad stunning tourist locations in metropolitan and regional SA. A stronger tourism economy also forms a major component of RAA’s Six for the State election priorities.
We’re continuing this important conversation by co-hosting the TiCSA Tourism in SA Matters Policy Forum. Recently we heard from the South Australian Premier and Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Steven Marshall MP, and this week we were joined by Leader of the Opposition, Peter Malinauskas MP.
To learn more about RAA’s election priorities visit https://daily.raa.com.au/representing-you/