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Tourism industry takes charge of workforce needs

Media Release
Tuesday 11 July 2006

Tourism industry takes charge of workforce needs

New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sector today launches a major strategy aimed at ensuring the $17.2 billion tourism industry has the people and skills it needs to grow and prosper.

Ongoing skill shortages in the tourism and hospitality sector not only put a brake on growth but threaten to compromise the industry’s ability to deliver a consistently high quality experience to visitors.

The Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy identifies six goals and a number of recommended actions, and details numerous initiatives already underway. It also calls for tourism and hospitality employers to look at how they manage their workplaces.

“Tourism directly and indirectly supports 172,000 full-time equivalent jobs – that is one in every 10 jobs in New Zealand. These positions are spread widely across every region of the country, often in areas where few other job opportunities exist. But looming workforce shortages are a particular problem for the labour-intensive and seasonal tourism industry.

“Having sufficient well-trained and professional staff is critical to delivering a quality experience to visitors,” Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.

“When we started this process we believed we were dealing with a workforce issue. After looking closely at the issues and listening to industry, it became apparent that we are in fact dealing with a workplace issue. To attract more of the right sorts of people into the industry, we need to develop coherent career paths and improve learning and development opportunities, to pay equitably and to use management practices that ensure people feel valued.”

An industry Leadership Group comprising key industry associations and industry training organisations – with the support of government departments and agencies - is releasing the Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Strategy. The Strategy is the Group’s response to forecast serious labour shortages forecast by Business and Economic Research (BERL) in its 2004 Tourism Workforce & Skills Projection Report which

ENDS

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