As media & leaders last week celebrated Queensland’s tourism bounce-back and boom, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) has been in talks with state and federal governments to urgently reinstate financial support for the sector
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show an increase of 5000 tourism workers in Queensland, with more people employed compared to 2019. On face value the figure suggests a robust recovery but the real situation is far from it as QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind explained to EventOrganisers.
“In the early phase of the pandemic in 2020, we lost in the order of 35000 staff who just drifted out of the industry.” Said Gschwind. “By 2021 we started to see improvements and began to recruit – don’t forget coming into Christmas we were very optimistic and that’s when these data [ABS statistics] came from, so everyone was hiring.”
Gschwind highlights that the figures relate to ‘persons employed’ regardless of whether they are in full time employment or not. He suspects that many are on the books part-time or possibly not working all, because businesses are desperate to hang on to any staff they have. “I’m speculating because I have to reconcile these numbers with the reality that many businesses are still not at full capacity.” He said.
Furthermore, the introduction of Omicron has impacted on public confidence, which Gschwind believes will take some time to rebuild. “People are staying at home – simultaneously businesses are trying to have staff in place to service what business they have got, but they are also dealing with a lack of staff and existing staff having to isolate because of close contacts. They are copping it from all angles.”
“Governments have to be confident enough to rebuild a sense of safety, and have confidence in the people. We’ve had two years now of government and media scaring the pants off people. Maybe there was a good reason for that to start with, but to change the mood will require governments and other spokespeople, to get on their horses and reassure people that we are ready to start living again.”