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Future workforce and skill needs

4 November 2004

Tourism industry identifies future workforce and skill needs

A landmark industry research project is highlighting the need for new workers and skills to support tourism’s impressive growth forecasts to 2010—something Tourism Minister Mark Burton says will be a key industry challenge.

The Tourism Workforce and Skills Projections Report is the first time a New Zealand government and the industry have worked together to take a comprehensive, in-depth, collective look at the sector’s labour and skills needs.

“People are the foundation of a truly sustainable tourism industry for New Zealand. The sector’s strong growth projections to the end of the decade are presenting some significant challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled, quality staff.

“This report is a snapshot taken today but looking to the future. And while the industry requires an increasingly complex range of skills, quality customer service, communication, cultural awareness, and selling skills are still the heart of the industry.

“The New Zealand tourism sector will need a strong combination of proactive workforce planning and strategies to manage staff turnover in order to attract and retain the workforce it needs for sustainable growth. Working in partnership with the sector, government will continue to help the industry address these ongoing, significant challenges.”

Mark Burton says that the report highlights some very positive developments across the industry.

“Employers are reporting that off-peak seasonal periods are getting busier—good news for reducing employment seasonality. And of course, these workforce growth projections mean more career opportunities ahead in the tourism industry. The industry now needs to implement the recommendations and develop work-plans in response to this report.

“New Zealand’s strong economic growth has resulted in the lowest unemployment rates in 17 years, and tourism must compete for skilled employees. I am pleased to see this premiere industry planning for a long-term, sustainable future.”

The research was commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Industry Association, Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation Hospitality Association NZ, and the Hospitality Standards Institute, and carried out by research agency BERL.

The full report is available on


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