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Working holiday makers return to SA to help fill workforce shortages: Bettison

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The Hon. Zoe Bettison, Minister for Tourism (SA), Media Release, 1 October 2022

A tour guide, hotel concierge and bar attendant are among the working holiday makers to secure jobs after jetting Down Under as part of the South Australian Tourism Commission’s ‘£10 flight’ campaign.

Launched in April, the campaign attracted global attention as it offered young travellers in the United Kingdom and Ireland return flights to Adelaide for just £10 – spruiking the benefits of a working holiday in South Australia and seeking to help fill workforce shortages in the tourism industry.

It enabled 200 young Working Holiday Visa holders to book and travel to South Australia, and a follow-up £499 package was offered on the back of overwhelming demand, with more than 120 additional young workers taking up the second deal.

With the first of the travellers now having landed in Adelaide, the SATC is connecting them with potential employers through a series of ‘G’Day SA’ welcome functions held at the YHA’s Adelaide Central property.

Around 50 working holiday makers attended an event held last Monday night, with the opportunity to ‘speed date’ operators from a range of tourism and hospitality businesses – including Adelaide Oval, Strathmore Hotel, Hilton, Barossa Fine Foods, Smiling Samoyed Brewery in Myponga, and The Moseley Beach Club in Glenelg.

Several employment contracts were offered to Working Holiday Visa holders on the night, with some already having signed and started work, and other job placement opportunities still being explored.

In addition to the events, the working holiday makers attracted through the campaign are provided with information and contacts to help find job opportunities in South Australia.

This includes a new jobs portal on the SATC’s website, and connections made with The Backpacker List – a recruitment agency specialising in working holiday maker recruitment – and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) SA.

Prior to the pandemic, the backpacker market was a significant employer within South Australia’s tourism, hospitality, and primary industry sectors. In 2019, there was 27,000 working holiday visitors to the state, spending $47 million in the visitor economy.

Quotes attributable to Zoe Bettison

The backpacker market is an important part of our state’s visitor economy as they travel and experience what’s on offer, and they make a valuable contribution to workforce bringing passion and vibrancy to sectors like hospitality.

It’s been fantastic to see our tourism operators reconnecting with backpackers at our G’Day SA events, and to hear these young travellers are already working in our bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions – it all helps as we rebuild our once $1.2 billion international market.

Through this campaign, we’re not only getting the word out into global markets that South Australia is a wonderful place to live, work and holiday – we’re also connecting young people who are eager to work with tourism and hospitality businesses that have job vacancies.

Quotes attributable to Ian Horne, Australian Hotels Association SA General Manager

It was terrific to meet some of the young travellers on Monday night and hear how excited they were for their adventures in South Australia.

We’ve had really good engagement from tourism and hospitality operators through this program, and I’m excited to see the first of the UK workers take up jobs in regional pubs, working in our world-class cafes and restaurants or picking up any number of roles in our CBD hotels.

The SATC campaign gave South Australia the jump on many young UK workers who were keen to come ‘Down Under’ for our summer, and we’re doing everything we can to encourage them to stay longer, keep exploring and embrace a working holiday in our state.

Quotes attributable to Oliver Lanigan, one of the £499 flyers who has secured a job working as tour guide at Wilderness Escapes

It was the £10 flight that caught my attention. I’d always been keen on living in Australia but wasn’t sure where to go or when – so when I saw this, I jumped at the chance. While I didn’t get the £10 flight, I did get the £499 offer, so I was stoked.

So far, I’ve loved it here and love my new job. I’ve worked for about three weeks now and I’ve already been to the Riverland and Flinders Ranges, and just spent the last few days kayaking on the Murray River.

Next on my bucket list is Kangaroo Island. It’s gonna be awesome having my first Aussie summer.

Quotes attributable to Paul McGrath, CEO, YHA Australia 

YHA is delighted to see the number of Working Holiday Makers staying with us across Australia, increase by over 36% from August to September.

Adelaide is a great base to explore the state, and we’re thrilled to see this market return which is really important to YHA’s network of properties across all capital cities and major tourist destinations.


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