Better Work plan to strengthen tourism workforce

  • Better Work plan to address on-going challenges in the tourism workforce
  • Tourism and Hospitality Accord to set the bar for employment standards
  • Fit-for-purpose employment and education to improve skills and attract workers

The Government is backing industry to build back a better, stronger and more resilient tourism sector, Tourism Minister Peeni Henare said today.

“New Zealand continues to be one of the world’s top tourism destinations, and with the borders open, international visitors are returning. We need to support our sector to rebuild a more resilient future that leaves people, communities, and the environment better off than before,” Peeni Henare said.

“This includes making sure our tourism workforce is skilled and supported, through education, good career pathways, pay and working conditions.

“We all want tourism to be a good career option, and that starts by ensuring it is.

“The Better Work plan includes the establishment of a Tourism and Hospitality Accord. This will be a voluntary employer accreditation scheme that identifies those businesses in tourism and hospitality who are treating their staff well.

"Businesses who join the Accord will be able to demonstrate that they are good employers, which will help them to attract quality staff.

“There will be closer collaboration between industry and education providers, to ensure the right skills are being taught to fill the jobs the sector needs. 

“And we will test whether employee-sharing can reduce the unstable and seasonal elements of tourism.

“We want to turn around the negative perception – and reality for some – that working in tourism doesn’t pay well and the work can be unstable and low paid. This Action Plan will help to improve conditions so that tourism is a job of choice that is fulfilling and desirable for people here and those coming from abroad,” Peeni Henare said.

The work to transform the tourism sector has been developed as part of the Industry Transformation Plan, a partnership between industry, unions, Maori and government.

“It is time to be excited, to look ahead to the future of the sector, and to rebuild the industry to be more resilient and more sustainable for both visitors and workers,” Peeni Henare said.

For a copy of the Better Work Action Plan and information about indicative timelines, please visit this link.

This is the first phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan, announced in 2021.

Notes for editors:

  • The plan contains six Tirohanga Hou (new outlook and ways of thinking) which are underpinned by 14 initiatives to achieve transformational change.
Tirohanga Hou Description Initiatives
Recognising quality employers and improving employment standards and practices The establishment of a Tourism and Hospitality Accord (Accord) will enable both workers and consumers to identify businesses that meet a set of voluntary standards relating to decent pay, appropriate training and career progression, and a safe and supportive work environment. The Accord aims to ‘lift the middle’ creating a positive movement, leading directly to better work outcomes that benefit employees and employers.

Initiative 1: Establish a Tourism and Hospitality Accord

Fit-for-purpose education and training There are a number of priority areas to improve the education and training system and make it more fit for purpose for the current and future tourism industry. A stronger channel of communication between the industry itself and the education ecosystem will support this outcome. These changes will help equip the tourism workforce to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry and help deliver a regenerative tourism system.

Initiative 2: Stronger partnership between key peak industry bodies and Ringa Hora (Workforce Development Council)

Initiative 3: Design/develop a new tourism qualification(s)

Embrace the flux, enable the flex The seasonality of tourism demand leads to fluctuations in the availability of work, across seasons, weeks, and days. This can be beneficial and desirable for many as it allows flexibility and diversity of work, but for some, fluctuation impacts the perception of the industry as a viable career path.  There is an opportunity to support entities to collaborate with each other (within and across sectors), and work with the industry's seasonality to retain and attract more people to work in the industry.

Initiative 4: Conduct a tourism conservation employee-sharing pilot building on the benefits of the Jobs for Nature (J4N) programme

Initiative 5: Undertake a systems analysis of barriers to employee-sharing models of work

Initiative 6: Explore options for clearer long-term immigration settings

Improving cultural competency and ensuring authentic storytelling Improving cultural competency will enable organisations to tell more authentic stories and will build a workplace culture for employees where their cultural values (including te ao Māori values and other cultures) are understood and respected, in order to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces in the longer term.

Initiative 7: Pilot programme to build cultural competency through regional resources

Lifting technology uptake and innovation to support Better Work Innovation and the adoption of technology are key to lifting productivity, offering better work, and enhancing the value of the tourism offering. There are a range of opportunities to increase adoption of technology across the industry, to boost business efficiencies and/or lead to better work, as well as to stimulate more innovation.

Initiative 8: Develop Digital Boost tourism and hospitality content

Initiative 9: Expo/trade shows to showcase existing and emerging technologies to the tourism industry

Initiative 10: Encourage more utilisation of business support tools and resources

Initiative 11: Accelerator programme for innovation in tourism

Initiative 12: Innovation in tourism business models, to support purpose-led and intergenerational objectives

Showcasing the great – pathways and people in tourism While most of the Better Work Action Plan focuses on delivering change, there are numerous positive stories already of people with fulfilling careers in tourism. Showcasing and celebrating the diverse career pathways, points of entry for careers in tourism, the variety the industry has to offer, and positive employee and business experiences through public campaigns and engagement will help attract more workers to the industry.

Initiative 13: A public campaign to showcase Better Work

Initiative 14: Build on the success of Go with Tourism to continue to attract workers to the sector