Capability and development

Investment in people and capability building is critical to lifting the productivity of the tourism sector and delivering quality visitor experiences.

Tourism needs to be seen as an attractive career with clear pathways for student, employee and employer success.

We need to attract and retain a skilled workforce and build the capability of tourism businesses to improve their productivity, profitability and ability to innovate, develop and grow.

A skilled workforce

A range of factors needs to be considered in thinking about a destination’s workforce, including:

  • current national immigration and labour market regulatory settings
  • employment levels and competition with other sectors for workers
  • what the tourism sector is doing to attract, train and retain staff
  • regional workforce planning
  • housing, schools and other factors affecting people’s ability to work and live in a particular location.

MBIE is currently working in partnership with the tourism sector to address some of the issues around the shortages of labour and skills. The ‘Go With Tourism’ initiative seeks to promote tourism as a valuable career.

See more on the Go With Tourism website(external link) 

In addition, a package of initiatives is being developed to:

  • improve workforce planning and education systems to grow a skilled workforce
  • upskill employers and employees to improve their business capability (including supporting them to understand and leverage off the profile of the modern workforce)
  • provide a national governance and coordination function for consistency and efficiency
  • make sure data and insight underpins all decisions and plans.

Business development and innovation

Many tourism operations are small to medium-sized enterprises that work in isolation without much connection into the area’s networks. They are often unaware of the range of business advisory services available.

Facilitating the connections between businesses and capability services and supporting networking, sharing and collaboration across tourism and the wider business community encourages clustering and specialisation, as well as boosting opportunities for innovation and product development.

Quality visitor experiences are underpinned by investment in people and education. Upskilling of tourism businesses also plays a crucial role.

Person explaining sticky notes on a whiteboard to workers sitting at a boardroom table

Networking, collaboration, partnerships and the creation of clusters help develop professionalism, innovation and entrepreneurial activity.


  • What are the current and future workforce supply and skill requirements? Do we have data/evidence to support these?
  • Are we promoting the sector as an attractive career option with clear pathways for students and employees?
  • Have we consulted with the local education and training providers? (See Service IQ ‘Regional Roadmaps’(external link))
  • Have analysed our business capability (across employment, management and Māori place and tūpuna names? innovation dimensions) and created a programme to develop this further? Is a lead organisation coordinating it?
  • Do we have connections to the various enterprise development programmes and services?
  • Do we have a clear focus on quality/value services and products (e.g. Qualmark, the TIA Tourism Sustainability Commitment)?
  • Could we assist tourism operators to develop new and existing visitor experiences?
  • Do we regularly connect with others in the tourism sector for information sharing and support?
  • Is there cross-sector engagement to encourage product development and innovation?
  • Are Māori/iwi/hapū organisations and enterprises well supported and integrated/ connected into the wider system?
  • Are non-Māori tourism providers upskilled on tikanga, historic events and pronunciation of Māori place and tūpuna names?
  • Is there a focus on innovation, clustering and investment readiness?
  • Are there opportunities to build enterprise digital capability?
  • Is there a commitment to building capability in sustainability and environmental stewardship?
  • Do we have a focus on building DM capability and capacity across our leadership/ stakeholder organisations?