29,000 tourism jobs under threat from recession


29,000 tourism jobs under threat from recession

The tourism industry would lose 29,000 jobs if Australia’s unemployment reaches 10%, according to industry analysis of the latest ABS employment data.


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The tourism industry would lose 29,000 jobs if Australia’s unemployment reaches 10%, according to industry analysis of the latest ABS employment data.
And an industry survey shows 72% of tourism businesses have or will cut jobs as a result of the financial crisis, with 58% having already reduced their workforce.
Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) manager Christopher Brown said the scale of the problem demands an immediate response from both Federal and State and Territory Governments to minimise the potential impact on families across Australia.
A report prepared for TTF by former Treasury official and Access Economics founder Geoff Carmody, Australian Tourism: How Deep the Recession?, is forecasting that national unemployment will reach double-digits, and that the tourism industry will be disproportionately affected.
Tourism will perform worse
The Carmody report also predicts that the tourism industry will perform worse than official forecasts, with tourism spending to fall more than consumer spending on average.
Brown said the loss of 29,000 direct jobs is ‘a frightening but realistic prospect — not to mention the flow-on effects to related employment, which could greatly magnify the problem’.
‘497,800 Australians are directly employed in tourism,’ Brown said, ‘and about 227,000 of those jobs are in regional areas. 29,000 direct jobs is virtually the entire population of Lismore.'
‘This means fewer people working at hotels and motels, in restaurants and cafés, for airlines and rental car companies.'
‘Hotels will be forced to shut off entire floors, while restaurants and cafés will have to reduce their trading hours, if not days.'
‘A job is a job, and maintaining jobs must be the aim of all levels of government during the economic downturn.’
Economic crisis hitting hard
Brown said the global financial crisis is clearly hitting hard.
‘Tourism is especially susceptible to any economic slowdown, because of its reliance on discretionary spending and because it’s a labour-intensive service industry, a downturn means job losses,’ he said.
‘We’ve already seen more than 3000 jobs cut in the accommodation sector in the December quarter, while Qantas has announced it could cut up to 1750 staff.'
‘Unfortunately, all indications are that these job losses will by no means be the last.'
‘International visitor numbers were down 3.2% in January–February, with holiday visitors down 6.3%, business visitors down 16.5% and conference visitors down 28.7%.
Exceed predictions
‘Official forecasts are for a 4.1% decline for the year, but Carmody says falls will likely exceed those predictions.’
Brown said TTF had devised a joint industry–government–tourism recovery strategy to protect jobs, support regional communities and drive a recovery.
‘TTF is calling for additional Commonwealth funding of $40 million per year for two years for a Tactical Marketing Fund, as well as for the states and territories to provide $10.5 million a year for a tourism fighting fund to be matched by industry,’ he said.
‘Governments also need to invest in tourism infrastructure, amend planning legislation to foster private tourism investment and expedite the reduction of payroll tax.'
‘In addition, ensuring the tourism and aviation sectors are not subject to any tax increases will help to minimise the impact of the global financial crisis, as well as maintaining economic activity and protecting jobs.’
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