Young Voices in Tourism Report highlights need for rethink on engaging young people in tourism sector.

A report released today by Young Tourism Network and Regeneration Projects has highlighted that young people felt they experienced significantly worse outcomes through 2020 compared to others in the tourism, hospitality and events industry.

This has led to young people being more likely to dissuade someone from working in the visitor economy, rather than recommending working in tourism, events or hospitality.

The report was developed following engagement with 190 young people in tourism through a survey and focus group conversations. The average age of respondents was 28 years old, with three-quarters working in the industry and a quarter studying tourism, events or hospitality.

The report identifies a growing gap between the values of young people in the visitor economy, and the industry in which they work in. While survey participants rated the importance of sustainability in tourism with an average score of 9 out of 10, the perceived performance rating of Australian tourism on sustainability was a sobering 6.7 out of 10. 

“This report highlighted how difficult the previous 18 months were for young people in tourism” said co-author Hugh Fitzpatrick, Chair of Young Tourism Network. “Working in tourism has received immense brand damage since 2020, and the industry needs to fundamentally evolve to attract young talent back into the fold.”

A key finding was that while 95% of respondents perceived tourism as a ‘fun’ sector to work in, only 28% believed that young people were fairly treated in the industry, and only 1 in 4 thought that young people had a strong voice in the sector.

“Young people are wanting better job security and to work in an industry or organisation that represents their values and gives them space to provide value to people, place, planet and profit” said Kate Rickwood, YTN Secretary and co-author.

“These findings are a wake-up call for industry leaders, because at its best, tourism can be a fantastic industry to be a part of; however, this is not what young people are seeing at the moment.”

Young Tourism Network and Regeneration Projects have designed this report to assist the “Reimagining the Visitor Economy” process currently being facilitated by the Australian Investment and Trade Commission as well as provide practical recommendations to the industry as a whole, government bodies and operators.

‘Our eyes and ears have been opened. Here’s a tool that can start positive intergenerational conversations within organisations that will strengthen the resilience of the labour force. Sustainability equals survivability” said Matt Sykes, Regeneration Projects & co-author.

Core recommendations in the report include:

  • better representation of young people in decision-making processes;
  • an industry wide refocus towards sustainability and profit with purpose; and,
  • improved linkages between educational institutions and tourism industry businesses. 

Full report can be found here, or enjoy the summary report here.