Fully vaccinated working holiday makers will be welcome back to Australia from 1 December 2021.

Peak industry body the Accommodation Association is hopeful that Federal Government’s $7 million marketing campaign to attract international travellers to Australia will plug the gap amid a major skills and labour shortage.

The Work and Play the Aussie Way campaign aims to encourage young people, in the UK, Europe, Japan and Republic of Korea in particular, to work and holiday in Australia via Working Holiday Maker visas.

“Anything that helps us solve the current workforce crisis is most welcome and we are very grateful for the Federal Government’s action on this and for the ongoing collaboration with our sector in addressing the multiple, complex issues Australia’s hotels and accommodation providers and people are dealing with,” said Accommodation Association CEO, Richard Munro.

In 2019, Working Holiday Makers contributed $3.2 billion to Australia’s visitor economy, representing 7% of total visitor spend.

Currently, the accommodation sector is grappling with labour losses of up to 35%, an issue that the Accommodation Association has made efforts to address through employment pathways initiatives.

“There is a common theme across just about every single hotel and that’s the juggle to plug the workforce and skills gaps at every level,” Munro said.

“We are confident that the young people being targeted as part of this initial campaign will find the lure of Australia very powerful, especially given the added incentive of the rebate on visa costs for all fully vaccinated international student visa holders who arrive in Australia between 19 January and 19 March 2022. We hope the success of the campaign will see the rebate window and the eligible countries extended given the massive extent of workforce losses here.”

Munro highlighted the struggle that CBD hotels, in particular, have faced due to border closures, and anticipates full recovery is not likely in the next twelve months.