Tourism boss calls for Asian workers


(TVLW) – Tourism chief Simon Currant has called for Tasmania to be allowed to recruit skilled and unskilled workers from Asia to meet shortages in the tourism industry.

Mr Currant, chairman of the Tourism Industry Council, said labour shortages were a threat to the state’s hopes of lifting tourism spending past $4 billion within 10 years.

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“Australians have a wonderful choice about where they work and they don’t like working weekends,” he said.

“We face a huge challenge recruiting people.”

The American hospitality industry had Mexicans to help its industry and Europe drew workers from the old Eastern Bloc.

Mr Currant said the Federal Government must address the issue or risk the Tasmanian industry coming to a standstill.

Hobart also faced the problem of a shortage of hotel rooms, he said.

“We need more rooms and we need them quickly,” he said.

He said the Marine Board building, now for sale, should be converted to a hotel and more CBD land should be made available.

Mr Currant was speaking at the launch of the latest stage of Tourism 21, the strategic plan developed in 1997 by the industry and government.