Aussies are eager to enjoy a city holiday in 2021, reigniting a love affair with major capitals.

Visa rebates for international backpackers and students introduced by the Federal Government this week has been welcomed by Australia’s Accommodation Association, but the body warns that more support is needed to address the sector’s labour shortage.

On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced fee rebates on visa applications for international students who arrive in the next eight weeks and for backpackers for the next 12 weeks in an effort to combat workforce shortages.

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

“Every level of Australia’s Accommodation sector has been heavily hit by workforce losses of 35% with the additional complication of staff having to isolate due to being close contacts,” said Accommodation Association CEO, Richard Munro.

“Every positive step towards addressing that is welcome but this is a massive headache that is not going away any time soon.”

The Accommodation Association said it has been engaging with government for both short- and long-term solutions, as ongoing support at all levels is needed until international tourism fully resumes.

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

“But, even where demand for rooms is high, our hotels, motels and accommodation providers simply can’t find the people to fill the gaps right across the workforce from management to cleaning staff through to floor and administration staff.

“Plus, our members continue to see cancellations due to consumer fears of being stranded again by snap border closures and inability to practically access Rapid Antigen Tests.”

Munro is hopeful that international students and backpackers will take up the many opportunities to work in this sector.

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