Visa discounts for students and backpackers are a ‘positive step’ for the accommodation industry

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Visa discounts for backpackers and international students introduced by the Federal Government this week have been welcomed by Australia’s Accommodation Association, but the body warns that further support is needed to tackle labor shortages -work in the sector.

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced fee reductions on visa applications for international students arriving within the next eight weeks and for backpackers for the next 12 weeks in a bid to tackle labor shortages. work.

The initiative will be supported by an AU$3 million marketing program through Tourism Australia.

“All levels of the Australian hospitality industry have been hit hard with 35% workforce losses, with the added complication of staff having to self-isolate due to close contact,” the CEO said. from the Accommodation Association, Richard Munro.

“Every positive step towards solving this problem is welcome, but it is a huge headache that is not going away any time soon.”

The Accommodation Association said it was committed to the government for short and long term solutions as continued support at all levels is needed until international tourism fully resumes.

“The sector is constantly adapting and finding ways to become more flexible to adapt to the rapidly changing environment,” Munro said.

“But, even where demand for rooms is high, our hotels, motels and lodging providers simply cannot find the people to fill the gaps in the workforce, from management to cleaning staff in through housekeeping and administrative staff.

“Additionally, our members continue to see cancellations due to consumer fears of being stranded again by rapid border closures and the inability to virtually access rapid antigen tests.”

Munro hopes international students and backpackers will take advantage of the many opportunities to work in this sector.

“Even in the short term, you learn transferable skills, and as a career path, it can take you anywhere and everywhere,” he said.

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