Backpackers are hiking their way back to Australia, bringing with them life for the hospitality industry.
Department of Home Affairs data shows that during the peak of COVID across the financial year 2020-2021, working holiday maker visas had plummeted to less than 40,000, the combined effects of which ended trading for many venues.
However, in the 2022-2023 financial year, there were over 224,000 working holiday maker visas issued – figures not seen since a decade previously. This is around 6.6 per cent of all tourist vias granted during the period.
And further good news is that FY2024 is set to match those figures.
Naturally, the inundation of new workers has been welcome news for the industry.
Celebrity chef Luke Mangan said of the influx, “Ever since visa workers have been allowed back in, it has been fantastic.
“A lot of these guys are Italians and French, especially in my level in hospitality. They’ve got experience in restaurants and they’ve got knowledge on wine and service, they’re good cooks.
“So it’s a really good asset to us. We’ve probably got 20-30 visa workers working in that group.”
Danielle Laundy, daughter of the pub king and director of marketing for the group, has similarly acknowledged the improvement in Laundy Hotels’ staffing situation over the last few months.
While the Working Holiday Maker visas do not require tourists to work, many find the opportunities in Australia too good to refuse, with plenty of positions offering backpackers invaluable experience.
The Working Holiday Maker Program is open to people aged 18 to 30 (or 35 in some instances) from a host of countries around the globe.