This is creating challenges in New Zealand where our expanding visitor economy is struggling to find the people it needs to provide our visitors with a world-class experience.
While those in the industry know that tourism has viable and attractive career options, the reality is that many young people and their parents have a contrary view.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) identified ‘People and Skills’ as being critical to meet the goals of the Tourism 2025 Framework, developing a supporting strategy which recognised the importance of this issue. It acknowledged that attracting young people to the sector is key to helping alleviate the shortages.
Likewise, the recently launched Destination AKL 2025 strategy, spearheaded by Auckland Tourism, Events, and Economic Development (ATEED), has listed getting more young people into a career in tourism as one of the key strategic imperatives towards developing a sustainable visitor economy in Auckland.
Ultimately, getting more young New Zealanders into the visitor economy is a win-win – it will help address a serious skills shortage in the industry and provide a huge range of jobs and career pathways for young people starting out.
But what do young people really think about a career in tourism? And, why are they not attracted to working in the country’s number one export industry?
What follows are the findings of a nationwide research project initiated by ATEED and TIA to respond to a long-standing gap in information about what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism.
The research offers new insights for industry employers and educators, so that they can increase recruitment of young people, and effectively retain and develop these young people in sustainable career pathways.
We need to clearly understand their perceptions in order to work out the most effective response to encourage young people to go with a tourism career and ensure New Zealand can continue to offer a world-class visitor experience.