The government has committed $5.2 million from its international visitor levy to promote and attract new talent into tourism roles.
The funding has been welcomed by leading industry bodies as a “significant boost” to attracting quality recruits into a sector experiencing severe skills shortages.
The funding will allow expansion of the Go with Tourism initiative, an online job-connector platform launched by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) earlier this year which the organisation says has shown promising early results.
The resource was launched following research from ATEED and Tourism Industry Aotearoa which identified myths and misconceptions about working in tourism and how they might be overcome.
It will be incorporated into a wider national programme of activity to build a tourism workforce estimated to need 40,000 new workers by 2025 to address forecast labour shortages.
Steve Armitage, ATEED’s destination general manager, said the organisation was “delighted” with the level of investment.
“Getting more people into tourism is one of the key strategic imperatives to emerge from the Destination AKL 2025 strategy and is a particular focus for us given the mega opportunities that are fast approaching us in 2021, starting with the 36th America’s Cup,” he said.
Chris Roberts, chief executive of TIA, said the grant funds one of the three coordinated work streams aimed at building the tourism workforce over the next 3-5 years. They are:
- the expansion of the Go with Tourism platform into more regions, setting up a national hub with a dedicated team to manage the initiative along with regional coordinators
- building an online knowledge hub for everyone in the industry
- organising engagement opportunities nationwide, such as school ambassadors, industry open days and a ‘pledge a placement’ programme.
“By partnering with ATEED and Go with Tourism, which is ready to roll out across the country, we can quickly implement the package of initiatives aimed at firstly educating New Zealanders about opportunities to work in tourism and then creating bridging opportunities into the industry,” he said.
“The other two work streams are about improving education and workforce planning, and upskilling programmes for businesses. TIA is continuing to work with government officials and ATEED to pull together the full Investment Plan for Building the Tourism Workforce.”