Urgent: The next travel bubble we need to save Qld tourism
Queensland's rebounding tourism industry is urging the Government to open a "Bali bubble" and allow seasonal workers into the state to avoid a dramatic labour shortage.
Fresh off its staggering recovery from COVID-19, Queensland's tourism industry is facing a chronic shortage of hospitality workers to serve Australian tourists.
A shortage of international labour as a result of ongoing border closures has created thousands of vacancies in the sector, Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind revealed.
Mr Gschwind said the industry was already suffering a "dramatic labour and skills shortage", with more than 1300 vacancies for chefs and cooks across the state.
He revealed the industry was lobbying the Federal Government to create a bubble with tourism-centric Bali that would allow experienced, English-speaking workers into the state to fill the void.
"There is certainly an opportunity and an urgent need to tap into greater labour pools," he said.
"There are literally thousands of jobs in hospitality and hotels and management are begging for staff.
Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said the Government would consider the proposal to support the nation's economic recovery.
"In the first instance, our visa system must support public health measures and settings should not displace job opportunities for Australians," he said.
"Where there are continuing labour shortages in the tourism industry, I will advocate for backpackers and other visa holders to fill those vacancies."
Queensland's $28 billion tourism industry, which employs about 234,000 people, has undergone a significant recovery after COVID-19 and Mr Gschwind said employers were now crying out for staff.
"It is a sudden shift, but we have to bear in mind we have lost this labour pool - we're talking tens of thousands of people," he said.
"We have no access to skilled migration or international students who fill the roles."
There are almost 3000 tourism and hospitality vacancies across the state, according to Seek.com.au.
Queensland premier tourism hotpots, including Tangalooma Island Resort, Magnetic Island, Bedarra Island and Fitzroy Island are among thousands advertising for bar and hospitality staff.
The State Government has launched a series of tourism lotteries giving Queenslanders discounts on holidays in Cairns, Whitsundays and Greater Brisbane.
More than 100,000 people registered for one of the 30,000 $100 Greater Brisbane travel vouchers, which are designed to encouraging Queenslanders to explore their own backyard.
Australia's tourism industry had been demanding further support following the end of JobKeeper in March.
It has since received about $258 million in support grants, including a half-price flights initiative.
Originally published as Urgent: The next travel bubble we need to save Qld tourism