“You can find a place for yourself.”
Rochelle Tait on the tourism industry.
Rochelle Tait was one of two recipients of the TINZT Tourism Academic Scholarship awarded at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa in September 2019. Currently in her final year studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Tourism Management and Marketing at Victoria University of Wellington, Rochelle has learnt about an industry she has had a passion for since childhood.
“There has always been something about travel and tourism that has fascinated me,” Rochelle said in her 2019 application. “Working in the industry would mean following my passions and pursuing something that has intrigued me for many years.”
Taking this passion into her academic career, Rochelle has considerably increased her knowledge of tourism. She has taken classes that focus on the environmental and social sustainability of tourism, growing her understanding of how tourism makes a positive and enduring contribution to Aotearoa-New Zealand.
She is conscious of the need to manage visitor impact that high density tourism can have on our natural environment and the need to manage future growth sustainably.
Throughout her time at university, Rochelle did not imagine learning about the far-reaching range of subjects that are included in a tourism major.
“It is so much more broad than people realise,” she says.
“If you want to be a tour guide you can. If you want to be in a corporate environment, you can.
“People might have the most random degrees…but it is such a huge industry, you can find a place for yourself,” she says.
From her time studying tourism Rochelle has seen how the industry is constantly responding and adapting to challenges and despite events like border closures, can provide an immersive tourism experience from a Wellington lecture theatre.
And while Rochelle recognises COVID-19 has significantly impacted the industry, it hasn’t put her off.
“It’s not the end of tourism. It will build again."
She applies the same attitude when thinking about her future career prospects in the wake of COVID-19.
“COVID doesn’t mean my qualification is useless or not relevant, the skills you learn are [applicable] across sectors, not just tourism.”
Reflecting on the skills and people shortage the industry experienced pre-COVID, Rochelle says that there is a “need for qualified people to help rebuild…we need people to make this happen.”
Being one of two TINZT Scholarship recipients in 2019, Rochelle says while the tuition fees were welcomed, she found more value in connecting with industry people.
“The connections gave a point of difference, and the knock effects of those introductions led to other experiences.”
Recipients of the TINZT Scholarship also receive tickets to the Tourism Summit Aotearoa and an Industry Connection day organised by TIA, bringing them face time with some of the industry’s leaders.
“It gives you an idea of what’s actually out there,” she says.
Since being named as one of two scholarship recipients last year, Rochelle has also received a Prime Minister’s Scholarship that saw her travel to Brazil to explore sustainable development initiatives. She has also spoken at industry events including the SKAL AGM.
Rochelle plans to use the connections made through the TINZT Tourism Academic Scholarship to pursue a career that promotes environmental and social sustainability.