Tourism in Action: A word from Brett Fraser (September)

September saw me travelling to Canberra for the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) quarterly board meeting. Made up of all the state and territory tourism industry councils, including QTIC, our respective councils discussed the issues most affecting tourism businesses. I am sure it will come as no surprise, but top of the agenda was the ongoing skills and labour shortage as well as evolving insurance troubles.

Next to workforce concerns, the affordability and accessibility of insurance is creating serious headaches for operators and poses a major risk to operations. While in Canberra, we attended a series of meetings with federal government and Austrade to discuss the untenable insurance environment. We flagged that mainstream insurers need to be educated on risk management, accreditation programs need to be beefed up to improve the insurability of businesses, and that foreign insurers are needed to boost supply and create choice for operators.

Next to insurance, we also discussed working holiday makers (WHM). A critical component of our visitor and labour market, and the lifeblood for many regional tourism communities, making Queensland a more attractive destination to these working globetrotters is essential. Meeting with the Hon Andrew Giles MP, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, we discussed WHM visas and recommended that existing visa requirements and working opportunities be maintained. We also proposed that three months of work in the tourism and hospitality sectors be included as an eligibility requirement to qualify for a second WHM visa and that qualifying regions be expanded beyond the current ‘northern or remote and very remote Australia’.

I remain optimistic that change is on the horizon and that, together, along with our state and territory counterparts, we will improve the operating environment for tourism businesses.

Kind regards, 

Brett Fraser