Tourism and Hospitality Industry Overview
Blue skies, lush landscapes, fine wine, kangaroos and a rich history... it's no wonder hospitality and tourism is one of the top industries in Australia! In 2007, there were 5.6 million visitor arrivals, according to Tourism Australia research. The School of Tourism at the University of Queensland estimates that tourism and related sectors are worth $70 billion to Australia's economy each year. Gaming and other gambling activities bring in a further $150 billion on average.
The hospitality and tourism industry is made up of a variety of interconnected sectors, including lodging (everything from backpacker hostels to luxury resorts), recreational activities (cruises, casinos, theme parks and the like), rental cars and food services. All of these sectors work in tandem with the transportation industry to bring consumers to the destinations where they'll spend money on the local goods and services. In the industry, this is known as an "upstream" effect: the more likely travellers are to board a plane to get somewhere, for instance, the higher in demand the hospitality and tourism industry's services become.
Hotels fall into several categories: commercial, resort, residential, extended-stay and casino/gaming. Some commercial hotels are also classified as conference facilities, with spaces designed to accommodate large-scale meetings and events. In addition, during the last few years, properties more commonly tack on charges to the room rate (for facilities fees, energy taxes or wireless charges, for example), regardless of whether the guest has actually used the features in question. Top hotel conglomerates in Australia include Accor, Starwood, Choice, and the Intercontinental group.
Tough to be hospitable 24-7
Life isn't always easy working in the hospitality industry -- guests can be rude, the holiday rush is nightmarish and some employees work extreme hours. If you've had a bad customer service experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, you're not alone, and the industry's trade organizations do care about your plight. The industry has struggled for some time with human resources issues, and "the current bad situation is worsening," says the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC). The ISHC frets that the "spirit of hospitality is deteriorating," with guest services compromised by staff reductions, high turnover and poorly trained workers.
Other labour issues also dog the industry. According to the ISHC, the challenge that will most affect the hospitality industry onward from 2006 is higher operating costs, especially those associated with labour and fuel. Hoteliers must also contend with escalated competition between accommodations, stiffer "brand standards" and the rising cost of construction and renovation.