Many New Zealanders depend on the tourism industry for employment, particularly in regions where tourism is a significant contributor to regional GDP. Pre COVID-19, tourism directly employed 230,000 New Zealanders (8.4% of people employed), and indirectly another 164,000. There have been major job losses across the tourism industry as a result of COVID-19. This will negatively impact perceptions of jobs and careers and jobs in tourism and there is a risk of labour and skill shortages if displaced staff do not return during recovery.
TIA recognises that a key enabler of tourism success in New Zealand post COVID-19 is having the right people in the right place at the right time. To achieve this, the industry needs:
- a workforce development strategy to identify the people and skills needs over the short-medium term
- employers with strong capability to provide sustainable and quality employment. Paying a fair wage and providing training and upskilling opportunities are important components of this
- an improved view by New Zealanders of tourism job opportunities;
- immigration policies that don’t create barriers for employers to recruit and retain migrants where there are no suitable New Zealanders;
- a tertiary sector aligned to the needs of employers and providing a pipeline of appropriately skilled people in adequate numbers. Ministry of Education approval to develop NCEA Tourism Achievement Standards is a priority action to improve the perception of tourism at schools and improve the tourism pathway from secondary to tertiary.