29 August 2023

Life experience sets tourism workforce up for success  

Paronella Park credits its success to support from the local community and employees, particularly its older staff. 

Paronella Park is a tropical rainforest wonderland in Queensland with a castle, picnic areas and waterfalls. It’s an Australian tourism icon, winning more than 60 awards. Owners Mark and Judy Evans credit their success to support from their local community and employees, in particular their older staff.

‘More than 20% of our staff are over 55 years of age,’ Evans says. ‘They’re reliable workers, and they are so positive with the guests. But the biggest thing is the work and life experience they bring with them.’

Tourism draws on transferable skills

Mark and Judy have a background in information and communications technologies. Having worked for large global corporations, they bring a wealth of experience. Their finance, HR and customer service skills help in their role as tourism business owners.

Like all successful operators, they know what makes a good employee. ‘We are lucky to employ retired farmers and tradies who bring a strong work ethic,’ Evans says. ‘They are committed and enjoy what they do. This translates into a great experience for our guests.’

Great staff get great customer reviews

Paronella Park’s customer reviews support this. It has 4.7 stars out of 5 from more than 4,200 Google reviews. In 2022 Paronella Park received TripAdvisor’s ‘Traveller’s Choice Award’. This puts the park in the top 10% of the platform’s attractions worldwide.

‘Older workers stay with us longer so we have a low staff turnover,’ Evans says. ‘This means guests can see some familiar faces the next time they visit, which they love.’

Learn more

Learn about the advantages of employing older Australians in the visitor economy.

The Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) has information on services and support that connect businesses and mature age workers. Visit the Mature Age Hub on the DEWR website to learn more.

Growing the visitor economy

THRIVE 2030 is Australia’s national strategy for the long-term, sustainable growth of the visitor economy.