Efforts to arrest the shortfall in training and the labour force in the 2019 NSW state budget have been welcomed by Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson, at the same time as concerns were raised as to a drop in overall funding for tourism.
In what the TAA described as a “mixed bag” for tourism, Johnson expressed disappointment at the forthcoming drop in spending for promoting New South Wales to national and international markets in the wake of Sydney’s growing hotel room supply chain.
“Sydney in particular has 10,000 hotel rooms currently in the pipeline – now is the time we should be ramping up and promoting what our state has to offer,” Johnson said, adding that competition between Australia’s three eastern states was perpetually fierce.
Delivering his budget speech today, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet included among the government’s annual expenses a $71 million investment in 100,000 fee-free TAFE and VET courses to provide young school-leavers with a pathway to industry through work and study via a traineeship.
“TAA NSW is currently working closely with TAFE NSW on developing specific recruitment strategies for young job-seekers including VET programs so any boost in this area is welcomed,” Johnson said.
Other tourism-related measures accounted for in the budget include a $76.6 million project to renew the Sydney Opera House and upgrade security; funding to relocate the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta; more than $100 million for regional NSW infrastructure and $25 million to improve access to NSW National Park walking trails.
Echoing the sentiments, Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Dean Long, said it was important now to understand which programs would be affected by the funding cut to Destination NSW.
“Destination NSW has built a world-class events calendar which is critical to support the current and additional hotels that are forecast to enter the market over the next 12 to 24 months. This budget cut, combined with the forecast lower economic growth will place NSW and the country at a competitive disadvantage in our tourism offering,” he said.