How COVID is impacting the hospitality industry in Australia?

Published on 08/09/2021 by Priscilla Hennekam

Australia has been very lucky with COVID, with very low rates of infections and deaths. While some of this may be due to its geographic isolation from the rest of the world, it is also largely due to government lockdowns. Many areas, including Sydney & Melbourne, are suffering lockdowns again now. While this has had many impacts on the economy, one specific problem is that it has produced a shortage of workers for the hospitality industry. It is due to this, that I decided to write this article, after a few people have reached out to me to ask if I am, or anyone I know is, looking for a job as a sommelier.

Australia is a big, relatively wealthy country, and although the borders are still closed and tourists cannot visit, similarly, Aussies cannot leave. So, we are seeing a big demand with Aussies looking to go out, and restaurants and events are frequently booked out. This seems fantastic for venue owners, and amazing for the economy, but restaurants are suffering a different problem. The majority of people who were working in this sector were international students, or skilled workers from overseas. With borders closed, these people cannot enter and take these positions.

“More than 46.000 hospitality jobs are currently advertised but industry leaders say the real shortage may be much higher.” A shortage of skilled workers from overseas is threatening the recovery of Australia's hospitality sector (

Many Aussies working in the hospitality industry have lost their jobs due to COVID, and many are not keen to return, feeling there is no security there right now. Every time a new lockdown commences, businesses close their doors and workers lose their jobs. To try to combat these problems, the government has removed restrictions on foreign students who remain in the country, allowing them to work more than the usual limit of 20 hours per week… but it is not enough. Restaurant managers, chefs and sommeliers are in demand in Australia. Below are some messages I have received recently by LinkedIn.

With all of this in mind, and thinking what I can do to help, I have launched the first Australian Wine Course in the Portuguese language - a short course that gives an overview of Australian Wines and the Australian Wine Market. It is designed to be one of the steps to help Brazilians, like me, to work in the hospitality industry in Australia. Having knowledge about Australian wines is a great advantage and is desirable for a lot of Australian companies. I really hope I can help both sides with this course, Australia with more skilled workers, and Brazilians to have more opportunities in Australia.

More information about the course can be found here: