The hotel and catering industry is a major component of the Australian tourism industry. The ongoing boom in travel spells equally golden times for the hotel and catering industry, helping it become the fastest growing industry in the world. In Australia, it is one of the country’s largest sources of foreign exchange earnings, with tourism generating $94 billion in spending. As a sector, tourism contributes $34 billion in GDP – that’s 2.6% of Australia’s total GDP. Tourism and hospitality is Australia’s largest export earners and provides around half a million jobs. According to latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 6.7 million visitor arrivals for year ending August 2014, an increase of 8.2 per cent relative to the previous year.
It is obvious that as tourist traffic both nationally and internationally increases, whether for business or pleasure, the need for hotels, accommodation and catering establishments will also increase proportionately, boosting both industry and the employment prospects it offers.
Labour and skills are seen as the greatest supply side challenge in terms of growing the Australian tourism industry. Significant growth in capacity and productivity is required. It is estimated that jobs growth of between 12% and 32% will be needed for the industry to grow; that is between 56,000 to 152,000 additional jobs (or between 1 and 3 times industry’s long run average growth). If yields increase, demand on jobs will be lower.