21 Dec 2011

Australia urged to train as well as employ Pacific Island tourism workers

1:23 pm on 21 December 2011

The head of a Pacific tourism body says Australia will need to ensure that more seasonal tourism jobs for Pacific Island workers won't create a lack of skilled workers in the region.

Australia is extending a pilot project for its tourism industry which has 36,000 vacancies amid competition from the mining sector.

Tourism operators will be able to employ short-term workers from several Pacific Island countries.

This comes on top of the new permanent scheme for farmers which starts in July.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation's CEO Ilisoni Vuidreketi says the tourism workers' remittances and exposure to a bigger industry will be good for local economies.

"But on the other side it definitely will place a lot of stress, a lot of burden on these island countries, (for) one to begin retraining of personnel to fill in these positions and trying to find the supply of people who are able to take up these jobs in their own countries and stay in them."

Ilisoni Vuidreketi says if the scheme takes off Australia would be obliged and willing to support tourism training in the region.