Our peak 2021 tourism season is in full swing across the Territory. Domestic tourist numbers look positive. It’s clear their spending patterns are different to international travellers both in how they travel and what experiences they want and ultimately how much they are willing to spend getting out and about.
Be that as it may, it still is shaping up to be a strong season for us right across the NT. Workforce shortages do mean we are unable to fully capitalise on the opportunity presented before us. We are aware of businesses in our industry that have had to shape their offering to match the restricted workforce.
On that front there have been positive measures from both the Territory and the Commonwealth Governments. The single biggest benefit many smaller hospitality businesses saw was when the changes to how many hours international students could work in our sector came into effect. We received reports of immediate roster relief, albeit not solving the problem for all or even fully for some. The additional 12 month extension of the 408 Visa we hope will keep international workers already connected with our businesses working with us for another year.
The reality is though, without access to key skilled international workers, we face capacity constraints throughout 2021 and into next year making international border changes critical. Given the politicisation by governments of all colours across the country, and the public’s strong push against opening borders, we do not see anything other than an ultra-cautious approach emanating from Canberra. We are working with other stakeholders to try and get planes of workers and students landing and quarantining in the Territory, something sadly it looks like our current health capacity constraints is making it difficult to get off the ground.
We recently launched the RSA Refresher online course. It is free, user friendly and takes approx. 20 minutes to complete. Going forward Licensing NT have indicated they will be looking at RSA Registers and highlighting staff with RSA’s older than 3 years and bringing that to management’s attention. Staff can either do the full RSA course again or our www.ntrefreshrsa.com training to receive your Refresher Certificate. Over time we envisage Licensing NT authorising other training courses as suitable for RSA Refresher purposes but for now, with over 800 tests taken in the first week, we are pleased to have helped fill the gap.
In spite of all the challenges, we hope you have a cracking next few months and as always the team here at Hospitality NT are available for any queries and concerns that you have.