Tassie Budget Boosts Events Industry

AN39-3-news-HobartThe Tasmanian minister for hospitality, Scott Bacon, has announced details of a series of events that will support growth within the hospitality industry in 2012/2013.

The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts has worked with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association to develop a program of initiatives for the next twelve months aimed at continuing to improve industry standards across the state.

"Today's budget demonstrates this government's commitment to an industry that is one of our state's largest employers, contributing significantly to our economy," said Mr Bacon. "We are providing $200,000 to the THA over two years to support programs that focus largely on workforce development and emerging markets.

"The potential growth in Tasmania's tourist markets, for example China, requires us to learn more about the nature of the experience these visitors are looking for, to develop the skills to welcome them appropriately and provide them with a high-quality service.

"Among other things, 2012/13 will see the delivery of a series of profitability and customer service workshops for people working in the restaurant and catering sector.

"To ensure the state's offerings in the restaurant and catering sectors are high-quality, diverse and meet visitors' needs, enterprises must be profitable, stable and customer-focussed"

Mr Bacon said that following the delivery this year of the Workforce Retention report, which provided a detailed assessment of the issues affecting the retention of experienced staff, work will be done to examine ways to ensure greater consistency in the training of hospitality graduates.

"In 2012/2013 the THA will deliver the workforce development program with a high degree of interaction with schools, Skills Tasmania, hospitality businesses and enterprises, registered training organisations and the tourism industry.

"A dedicated workforce development officer with a high degree of credibility with the industry will enable the industry itself to take the lead, with the government fulfilling a support role."

Mr Bacon said the workforce development initiatives would fall into five categories:

• strengthening relationships with Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Schools providers
• promoting careers in the hospitality industry
• facilitating the development of workforce development plans
• training for individuals entering the hospitality industry
• development and implementation of an international reputation initiative.

"With the industry's strategic plan due for completion in June this year we will see a comprehensive profile of the industry and a vision for the future," he said.

"The strategic plan will draw upon the initiatives already underway including the findings and recommendations of the workforce retention report.

"The strategic plan will be particularly important in guiding the longer-term direction and areas of focus beyond 2012/13, providing clear guidance on priorities for funding for 2013/14.

"This will highlight the work required to ensure the hospitality industry continues to prosper, support the lifestyle we have come to enjoy and support the state's tourism industry."

The Accommodation Association of Australia said, "Operators of accommodation businesses in Tasmania are pleased that Tourism Tasmania's marketing budget has been quarantined from cuts," said the association's chief executive officer, Richard Munro.

"Given the tight fiscal environment, it would have been easy for the state government to reduce funding for marketing, but by slightly increasing it, the government has demonstrated that it is keen to assist the industry through difficult trading times.

"However, Tourism Tasmania must still find a significant amount of operational savings and there is no growth in funding for the organisation over the next three years."

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