Tourism Industry Transformation Plan

The Tourism Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) is a partnership with the tourism industry, Māori, unions, workers and government to transform tourism in Aotearoa to a more regenerative model.

Why do we need an ITP for tourism?

Industry Transformation Plans (ITPs) are a high-intensity, high-engagement approach to industry policy, with the purpose of setting a transformative vision and action plan for key sectors in the New Zealand economy.

Tourism was selected for an ITP because of its significance to the New Zealand economy, and because the loss of international visitors as the result of COVID-19 gives us an opportunity to rebuild a more regenerative tourism system. Funding for the development of the Tourism ITP was included in the Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan.

Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan

The Tourism ITP will have an overarching objective of establishing a regenerative model of tourism. Regenerative tourism is about giving back more to people and places than it takes – meaning a tourism sector that adds more than only economic value. It actively enriches our communities and helps protect and restore our environment.

7 other sectors are developing and implementing an ITP: Agritech, Digital Technologies, Food and Beverage, Advanced Manufacturing, Forestry and Wood Processing, Construction, and Tourism.

For more information about other ITPs:

Industry policy

The scope of the Tourism ITP

Transformation Plans for other industries have had to invest a lot of time in their early stages to define the issues and challenges in their sector. The Tourism ITP will look a little different than this, as issues and challenges for the sector are well understood and many have been known for some time. The Tourism ITP will build on the significant analysis that has already been done in the tourism space. This includes:

Initial focus on Better Work

The Tourism ITP will, at first, be focused on enabling Better Work for the tourism and hospitality industry. Providing better work and opportunities for those to develop and grow in the tourism system, is a key part of creating a regenerative tourism system.

While COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges for the tourism workforce, the reality is that these challenges have been longstanding. The disruption of COVID-19, the immigration rebalance, and broader changes in the labour market present a unique opportunity for us to take stock and ask what we want for the tourism workforce of the future and what changes need to occur.

To make any transformational shifts in the tourism system, we must look at the foundation of the system – people. If we don’t invest into this dimension, then we will struggle to achieve any other transformational shifts.

The ITP Leadership Group will deliver a draft Better Work Action Plan in Quarter 2 of 2022, for wider consultation after that.

Initial scope for the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan [PDF, 158 KB]

Second focus on the environment

The second phase of the ITP, after Better Work, will be focused on the environment. We have heard clearly from the industry that addressing environmental challenges for the tourism system is a priority – and this is of course another key component of regenerative tourism.

The ITP Leadership Group will work with the industry, workers and government over the coming months to determine the key focus areas for this topic, and where the ITP partnership model can be put to best use.

Timelines for the ITP

The ITP Leadership Group will work to:

  • deliver a draft Better Work Action Plan Quarter 2 of 2022, for wider consultation
  • have a refined scope for the second phase of the ITP by Quarter 2 of 2022.

Keeping updated on the ITP

If you’re interested in following the progress of the Tourism ITP, we will aim to provide regular updates through the tourism stakeholder alert, which you can sign up to.

Subscribe to tourism sector alerts

If you have any questions email the Tourism ITP:

Leadership group members

To lead the development of the Tourism ITP, a Leadership Group has been established. The Group will be co-Chaired by representatives from industry, government and unions: Gráinne Troute (Chair of the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Board), John Crocker (National Secretary of Unite Union) and Heather Kirkham (General Manager of the Tourism Branch at Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment).

Gráinne Troute (co-Chair: Industry)

Gráinne is the Chair of the Tourism Industry Aotearoa Board, and a Director of Tourism Holdings Ltd, Summerset Holdings Ltd, and Investore Property. She is a professional director with many years of experience operating customer-focused businesses in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors. In her executive career, she was most recently General Manager, Corporate Services for SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

Prior to that she was Managing Director of McDonald’s Restaurants (NZ) Ltd and has also held executive roles with consultancy firm Right Management, and with Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC). Gráinne has also spent many years as a trustee and Chair in the not-for-profit sector, including having been the Chair of Ronald McDonald House Charities (NZ) for 5 years. She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors. She is based in Auckland.

Gráinne Troute (co-Chair: Industry)

John Crocker (co-Chair: Union)

John is the National Secretary of Unite Union, a hospitality union, and is an enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court. He has extensive experience advocating for hospitality workers individually and collectively.

He has worked at Unite since 2013 and also took a sabbatical to work for the NZ Council of Trade Unions as the Policy Analyst - Health and Safety. He worked on the Holidays Act Taskforce and previously worked in hospitality himself.

John Crocker (co-Chair: Union)

Heather Kirkham (co-Chair: Government)

Heather Kirkham has recently been appointed as the General Manager, Tourism.

She previously worked in a range of senior roles in both the public and private sectors, including the UK and New Zealand Treasuries.

She has been an economic advisor to the then-Minister of Finance, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, and held senior roles at Contact Energy and NZX. Immediately prior to this role she was a Director at MBIE responsible for the establishment of Regional Skills Leadership Groups.

Bridget Legnavsky

Bridget is the Chief Experience Officer for RealNZ (formally known as Wayfare), where she is responsible for RealNZ’s tourism and ski experience - leading a dynamic team of General Managers to drive innovation and create magic for their guests.

Prior to this, Bridget spent over 20 years at Cardrona Alpine Resort in a range of roles including a ski instructor, services manager, and general manager.

Bridget also contributes to a range of relevant initiatives and groups, including being the chair of the Climate Reference Group (set up to support and advise Queenstown Lakes District Council on their Climate Action Plan), a member of the Otago Regional Skills Leadership Group, a member of the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce Board, and more.

She has a demonstrated history in the leisure, travel and tourism industry.

Bridget Legnavsky

Charlie Phillips

Charlie is CEO of Queenstown Resort College – New Zealand’s premier multiple award winning Tourism and Hospitality Management College with locations in Queenstown and the Bay of Islands.

Prior to this, he spent 12 years in the tourism industry where he was General Manager of Europcar New Zealand. He moved to the education sector as he understood the ‘depth’ issues within the hospitality and tourism workforce, of which Queenstown Resort College addresses.

Charlie has held a variety of community roles where he is the current Chair of Wakatipu High School and Study Queenstown along with being the past Chair of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and Destination Queenstown Board member.

Charlie Phillips

Donna Purdue

Donna is the Chief Economist at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.  She is responsible for leading the thinking on the economic frameworks underpinning MBIE’s policy analysis, leading and shaping the direction of MBIE’s strategic research programme, and providing monitoring and analysis of key economic trends and their implications for policy advice and regulatory stewardship.

Donna has worked in both the private and public sectors providing practical economic insights to businesses, investors and Government to support their decision-making.  Her substantive roles have been in the banking sector working as an economist for Westpac and Kiwibank. 

Donna Purdue

George Hollinsworth

George is a Negotiation Specialist at E tū Union working predominantly in the Health Universe but with responsibilities across various other sectors within the Organisation. The focus on Industry Transformation Planning et al led to his recent secondment to NZCTU as the ITP Coordinator for the Affiliate Unions’ participation in Leadership Groups for Tourism, Advanced Manufacturing, Food & Beverage and Forestry & Wood Processing.

With a keen interest in Workplace Skills Development and Life-Long-Learning, he sits on the NZ Construction Industry Council and is a Board Member of MITO giving voice to those setting out in their careers and Workers transitioning or advancing from one part of their Industry to another.

Being qualified in both Adult Education and H&S Coordination and with extensive experience in the Management of Change, George is looking forward to participating in the Tourism ITP Leadership Group’s journey towards developing a sustainable future for the industry within Aotearoa.

George Hollinsworth

Gillian Millar

Gillian is the Senior Vice President of Operations for AccorHotels. This is a critical strategic role for the company and having in-country presence assists the organisation with improved delivery, stronger relations and greater cultural respect and support for local teams as well as an opportunity to be involved and contribute to the tourism industry.

An experienced hospitality professional across a variety of senior roles in the past 25 years, Gillian is responsible for managing Accor hotel’s, which comprises a suite of brands. With a passion for improving hotel performance and service delivery, Gillian adds value through strong leadership and her authentic and genuine ability to connect with people to deliver outstanding results.

Gillian leverages her past experience engaging at both operational and strategic levels of performance for the hotel and tourism industry. In challenging times, Gillian understands the need to look for alternate ways to collaborate and re-invent.

Gillian is honored to assist to steer the way. Together we are stronger and can achieve so much.

Gillian Millar

John Barrett (Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa and Ngati Raukawa ki te tonga)

John Barrett is the managing director and founder of Kapiti Island Nature Tours and Nature Lodge, a family operated, multi award winning, tourism business located on Kapiti Island.

Through his involvement in the tourism industry over the past forty years (including interactions with nature, indigenous and community-based tourism in New Zealand, Australia, Pacific nations, USA, Canada and, and other parts of the globe) John has experienced and learned from a wide range of tourism, community and economic development projects that have enhanced local and regional communities.

John also has over 35 years of management and governance experience in a range of private and public organisations, and is a founding member on the Leadership Council of World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, a past Director of Tourism New Zealand, a past Chair of New Zealand Māori Tourism Council and a past director of New Zealand Tourism Industry Training organisation.

Not surprisingly, John’s interests (when time away from family and business permits) are nature-based tourism, Māori and international indigenous tourism development and local/regional economic development.

John Barrett

Julie White

Julie White is the Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality New Zealand who represents close to 3000 commercial accommodation and hospitality operators. Prior to stepping into the CEO role, she served as the association’s Chief Operating Officer.  An experienced commercial leader, Julie has held various leadership positions within high-profile hospitality and tourism companies, such as InterContinental Hotels Group, EVENT Hospitality, and Air New Zealand.

Julie's vision is to continuously add value to members, drive innovation, offer a helping hand for operators, and raise the industry's profile to become a sector of choice for more New Zealanders.

Julie White

Kantima La Ong

Kantima works at SkyCity Casino, and has many years’ experience as a hospitality worker.

Biography and photo to come. 

Les Morgan

Les Morgan is the Chief Operating Officer of Hind Management. The Group has approximately $350 million in hospitality assets under direct ownership or management. Recent in-house brand additions include the Lane, EAST, Sunset and Moss Day Spas. Hind Managements premium brand, Sudima Hotels, is nationally recognised as a leading Employer of Choice, and is widely respected for its sustainability, diversity and access achievements. In 2019, Sudima received New Zealand’s Supreme Tourism accolade.

Les’s background includes experience in hotels in both the UK and New Zealand with several of the world’s leading hotel brands. He has governance experience and has association with Institute of Directors, Institute of Hospitality and is currently a board member of the Hotel Council Aotearoa. Les is a previous winner of the Westpac ‘Excellence in Leadership’, ‘NZ Hotel -Senior Hotel Executive of the Year’ and the recipient of Tourism Industry Aoteroa’s ‘Industry Champion’.

Les Morgan

Nikki Dines

Nikki is the Chief People Officer at Air New Zealand, and is responsible for developing and executing the airline's people and culture strategy.

Nikki has worked for Air New Zealand for 8 years in a range of legal and senior leadership roles, including leading Air New Zealand’s people and operations at Auckland Domestic Airport, and leading the company’s pilot group.

Prior to joining Air New Zealand Nikki worked as an employment lawyer in the United Kingdom and New Zealand for over 15 years, becoming a Partner at a boutique employment law firm, LangtonHudsonButcher. 

Nikki Dines

Pania Tyson-Nathan (Rongomaiwahine)

Pania Tyson-Nathan is the Chief Executive of New Zealand Māori Tourism, an organisation committed to supporting the growth and prosperity our people and the Māori tourism sector. She has worked in Māori Economic Development for around 30 years.

Pania has garnered her expertise and working knowledge from time spent in central and local government, the private sector and as a business owner. She also has governance experience.

Pania Tyson-Nathan (Rongomaiwahine)

Paul Retimanu

Paul is the Managing Director of Manaaki Management Limited. Manaaki Management provides full event and venue management in Wellington Venues such as Wharewaka Function Centre, Karaka Café, the Wellington Rowing Club, Pipitea Marae and Function Centre and Kawakawa Eatery.

Paul’s company has a very strong relationship working and partnering alongside local Iwi (Te Atiawa) and have done so for over 20 years. He has also been heavily involved in the hospitality sector in the last 30 years.

Paul sits on range of boards, including Hospitality New Zealand as National Vice President and is a member of Ringa Hora (Services Workforce Development Council).

Paul Retimanu

Sheryl Cadman

Sheryl is the Central Regional Secretary for FIRST Union. This is a senior leadership role within the union and Sheryl is responsible for the work of the union in the Central Region. FIRST Union is a national union with branches throughout the country. The union has members in a range of industries including retail, transport, logistics, and finance.

Sheryl is a long standing member of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) Women’s Council and at different times in her career represented the CTU on various groups including the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) and the Asia-Pacific Women’s Committee of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-AP).

Sheryl has been advocating for low paid workers for most of her working life and is particularly concerned with the gender and ethnic pay gap. She is looking forward to working with the ITP Leadership Group to ensure that working in tourism is a career of choice where workers are well paid, have decent working conditions, and great career prospects.

Trent Yeo

Trent Yeo founded Ziptrek Ecotours in Queenstown, 2009 as the first zipline tourism company in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Ziptrek is a sustainability-focused business providing personalised zipline and tree based guided tours that create place-making stories to thousands of guests.

Trent Yeo was past winner of the Emerging Tourism Leader at the New Zealand Tourism Awards and Ziptrek is currently a Qualmark 100% Pure Experience winner. In the last 3 years Trent has served on many collaborations including the Tourism Sustainability Commitment, Insights and Data, New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce Advisory Group, Queenstown Lakes' groups on Tourism, Destination Management, Affordable Housing and Startup Ecosystem and Wellbeing.

Trent has served in a number of governance roles and is a strong sustainability advocate. He is former licensee and curator of TEDxQueenstown, operations for TEDxScottbase and is a regular speaker and panellist on sustainability, education, tourism and entrepreneurship programmes and events.

Trent is a staunch advocate that New Zealand should and can lead the world's most sustainable tourism industry.

Trent Yeo
Last updated: 12 April 2022