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Broadening Employment Opportunities through Tourism.

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Credit: Anne Morley

"With tourism growing in regional areas of Australia where agriculture and mining industries dominate, employment opportunities are broadening. "

Despite the huge recent effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector across the world, positive trends in tourism in regional areas of Australia are expected to eventually continue as we come out of this pandemic.

Tourism accounts for around "1 in 10 jobs worldwide" and in 2017 accounted for "1 in 5 of all new jobs created" globally. Tourism offers a large volume of low skilled jobs (jobs that do not require tertiary qualifications) many of which have human interaction as a vital component. As many of the jobs created are low skilled, they are a great source of work experience for young people.

In small rural towns like Sea Lake, there has always been a narrow range of job opportunities. Most of the population is either in the agriculture, health, education or construction industries with agriculture being by far the largest industry in the area.

The agricultural industry is hugely male-dominated; over 80% of workers in the agricultural industry in the Wimmera-Mallee region are male. Construction is even more extreme in terms of the gender disparity with almost 90% of workers in the industry in the region being male. Health (almost 80% female) and education (about 65% female) are both female dominated, however, to get into either industry, further education is required which many rural towns simply can not offer. This results in a statistically large portion of young women moving out of these small towns after finishing school either for further education or for more job opportunities.

The increase in tourists travelling to places like Lake Tyrrell and to see the silo art trail gives these small towns an exceptional opportunity to embrace. As tourism in Sea Lake has increased, so has the amount of short term accommodation. A number of new businesses have been established including Skymirror gallery and accommodation and the Royal Hotel has reopened. This is resulting in an upward trend in the number and range of jobs in the area particularly for young people.

"As the tourism sector is somewhat female dominated across the world, this tourism boom is creating more jobs and an environment and culture that more young women find appealing rather than agriculture alone and is hence providing more opportunities for women in the region."

This increase in and broadening of opportunities could potentially improve gender balance in towns like Sea Lake, having a positive effect in slowing the population decline across these areas of regional Victoria.

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