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Growing Victorian tourism sector impacted by ongoing skills shortages
The cooler weather has not dampened performance in Victoria’s tourism sector, with strong sales recorded in the June quarter.
Despite entering the traditional off-peak winter trading season, 38% of respondents to a recent Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) survey reported a rise in domestic sales for in the tourism and recreational services sector which the peak body attributes in part to the Easter holiday in April this year, resulting in three public holidays falling within the quarter.
Export activity was also healthy, with almost a third of respondents reporting an increase over the period. Despite steady demand, operational costs such as energy prices continue to impact businesses, with profits declining for more than a quarter of survey respondents (26%).
Public holidays have also been seen to have resulted in higher wage costs, contributing to increased operational costs.
Welcoming the encouraging performance, VTIC Chief Executive Brad Ostermeyer stated “we are pleased to see this level of activity at a traditionally quieter time of year, especially after a subdued March quarter.
“Victoria has plenty to offer in the cooler months, including the NGV Winter Masterpieces Exhibition, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and of course it’s footy season.”
Looking ahead to the third quarter of 2017, VTIC fears that business conditions will decline. While almost a quarter of respondents expect sales to increase, 29% forecast a decrease. One in four businesses expect a drop in profits and in response, businesses said they were not planning to take on additional staff.
Ostermeyer added “this reaction from businesses is understandable but it also highlights the importance of year-round events scheduling to attract visitors through typically quieter periods.”
Almost a quarter of tourism businesses surveyed said they were experiencing difficulties in filling skills gaps. To address these skills shortages, respondents in the tourism sector indicated they were looking to poach employees from within the sector, rather than training newcomers.
This is concerning for VTIC as it means the overall skills base for the sector will not grow with demand while it also makes the issue of staff retention even more critical for employers.
Being held next week, VTIC’s Victorian Tourism Conference will feature an industry panel sharing knowledge and strategies around attracting and retaining skilled staff and volunteers, managing seasonality, and developing a strong and sustainable workforce.
The 2017 Victorian Tourism Conference will take place in the main grandstand of the famous Flemington Racecourse on 24th and 25th July.
Click here for event details in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.
Image: Visitors at Ballarat's Kryal Castle.
7th June 2017 - VTIC HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES FOR TOURISM IN REGIONAL VICTORIA
26th April 2017 - LOCAL COUNCILS MAKE BIG INVESTMENTS IN TOURISM
6th April 2017 - VISITOR ATTRACTIONS HIT BY STOLEN CREDIT CARD SCAM
31st March 2017 - HARD WORK AHEAD AS TOURISM SPENDING IN AUSTRALIA EXCEEDS $100 BILLION
24th February 2017 - VICTORIA TOURISM INDUSTRY COUNCIL WELCOMES REDUCED PENALTY RATES
8th December 2016 - AUSTRALIA’S TOURISM EXPORT GROWTH CONTINUES AS MARKETS SHIFT
5th November 2015 - STAFF AND SKILLS SHORTAGE IMPACTS TOURISM BUSINESSES
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