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UE changes to tourism short-sighted

UE changes to tourism short-sighted

The government’s decision to remove tourism as a subject able to be counted towards University Entrance is short-sighted and disappointing given the importance of tourism to New Zealand’s economic performance, says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Policy & Research Manager Simon Wallace.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority announced today that tourism would no longer count towards University Entrance requirements for those secondary school students wanting to pursue university study.

“This is a dumbing down of tourism as a subject at a time when we should be encouraging our most able students to consider it as a career option. The tourism industry is New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earner – bigger than dairy. It supports one in ten jobs and it has potential for significant economic growth.”

Mr Wallace says it is ill-conceived that NZQA is putting less value on vocational subjects given the requirements of the modern business world.

He says there is also a real risk the NZQA decision will see some schools drop tourism altogether as a subject option.

“This would be alarming given tourism’s demand for smart, young tertiary-trained people who recognise the industry as offering a viable and exciting career pathway.”

Elizabeth Valentine, Chief Executive of the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO) says research shows tourism operators are already struggling to find the skilled and experienced people they need.

“There is already a perception outside the industry that tourism jobs are only suitable for unskilled, unqualified people. This move by the NZQA reinforces that perception, when in fact the industry is crying out for skilled, talented staff,” she says.

“In a competitive international market, the experience we deliver on the ground is the only thing that sets New Zealand apart as a destination. Tourism needs high calibre people in order to deliver that experience and ensure it remains one of our top export earners.”

Read TIA’s submission (www.tianz.org.nz/content/library/Tourism_and_UE__6_December_10_2.pdf) arguing for the retention of tourism as a recognised University Entrance subject.

ENDS

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