YTN’s Advocacy Journey: Changing the tourism industry over time

As Victoria’s leading organisation representing young voices in tourism, the Young Tourism Network (YTN) places a strong emphasis on advocacy as a core aspect of our mission. We are dedicated to championing a tourism, events, and hospitality industry that resonates with the values of young people.

YTN’s Advocacy Journey to Date (June 2023):

2019 – Regional Tourism Review

The Victorian Government initiated a Regional Tourism Review with the aim of finding ways to support tourism in regional Victoria, attract private investment, and generate more employment opportunities. In response, a group of young leaders in the tourism industry formed a roundtable to represent the perspectives of young people in the industry and submitted a formal response to the review.

Some of the participants from the 2019 Regional Tourism Review Young Professionals Roundtable

2020 – Young Tourism Leaders

Amidst the global pandemic, these young tourism industry leaders continued to connect and collaborate through the “Young Tourism Leaders Discussion Group”. This group, consisting of professionals from across Australia, provided support and a platform for sharing challenges, ideas, and initiatives. It was recognised that capturing the insights of young tourism professionals would be crucial to both recover and reshape the industry. 

2021 – Young Voices in Tourism

YTN released The Young Voices in Tourism Report co-written by YTN and Regeneration Projects (RP). As we paused and set our course for a reimagined visitor economy, it appeared essential for the voices of young professionals to shape the discussions about the future of our industry.

This report presented insights gathered from the Young Tourism Network, Regeneration Projects, the Monash Sustainable Tourism Association, and the Young Tourism Leaders Discussion Group.

It aimed to raise awareness among state and federal leaders about the issues faced by young people in the tourism industry and promote greater inclusivity of young professionals in decision-making processes. The project received valuable input and support from industry mentors and leaders as a result.  

2022 – Launchpad Program

YTN continued to build relationships with the industry to strengthen the voice of YTN members. We received the generous support of the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) to expand on research and create a program to upskill our fellow peers (Young Voices In Tourism Launchpad Program).

We also continued advocating the recommendations that came out of the Young People in Tourism Report by representing young people across forums at state and national tourism and workforce conferences:
– VTIC Conference “Tourism on the other side: Shaping our Vision for 2022 and beyond” (Feb 22)
– Tasmanian Tourism Conference – Positive Impact (Aug 15-16)
– Tourism Job Summit in Canberra (Aug 30)
– Tour Guide Australia AGM 2022 (Oct 26)

2022 – Tourism Jobs Summit

YTN’s Committee member Maureen Pillon (2022 Deputy Chair) had the honour of attending the inaugural Tourism Jobs Summit held on August 30 in Canberra. The summit brought together representatives from various sectors, including tourism industry associations, unions, businesses, academia, and government officials. Its main objective was to address the workforce, discuss the challenges faced by the tourism industry and develop strategies to overcome them.

The keynote address was delivered by Senator the Hon. Don Farrell, the Minister for Trade and Tourism. The summit featured distinguished speakers such as the Hon. Martin Ferguson AM, former Tourism Minister and Chair of the Re-Imagining the Visitor Economy Expert Panel; John Hart OAM, Executive Chair of Australian Chamber – Tourism; Evan Hall, Chair of the Australian Tourism Industry Council; Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum; and Heather Cotching, Chief Economist at Austrade.

Maureen had the privilege of representing young people on a special panel titled “Where is the opportunity for an available workforce.” The panel also included Indigenous employment advocate Sharon Ninyette and disability employment advocate Andrea Comastri. During the panel discussion, Maureen shared insights from the 2021 Young Voices in Tourism Report and highlighted the projects of 2022, namely the Launchpad Program and the Workplaces Research. It was an excellent opportunity to shed light on the vital role of young people in the future of the Tourism, Events, and Hospitality industry.

The detailed information gathered from the Tourism Jobs Summit also contributed to the development of the Workforce and Skills Strategy, an action of the THRIVE 2030 initiative.

For more information, you can refer to Minister Farrell’s press release regarding the Tourism Jobs Summit.

2023 – Workforces Report

YTN released the 2022 Workplaces Report, which further contributes to our ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of young professionals. The report has been presented to influential organisations such as the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) and The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) to initiate conversations and raise awareness about the 13 recommendations highlighted in the report.

Young people from diverse backgrounds represent the future of Victoria’s visitor economy, and it is crucial to recognise and empower them as agents of positive change in the post-COVID-19 era.
YTN is committed to advocating for the future of the industry. Stay tuned for further news on our advocacy wins!