Phase 1: Better Work

The first phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) focused on enabling Better Work for the tourism industry.

Why Better Work?

To make any transformational shifts in the tourism system, we must look at the foundation of the system – people. Investment in those who work in tourism is fundamental to the achievement of other transformational shifts.

While COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges for the tourism workforce, the reality is that these challenges have been longstanding. The disruption of COVID-19 and broader changes in the labour market presented 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.

The Better Work Action Plan

The Better Work Action Plan was created in partnership with the tourism industry, unions/workers, government, and Māori through the Better Work ITP Leadership Group over an 18-month period.

Co-created by the tourism industry, unions and workers, government and Māori

"Change is happening now and tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand can choose to lead or be left behind. There are already some fantastic stories about businesses leading the way, and we are confident there will be many more."

Tripartite Leadership Group Co-Chairs:

  • Gráinne Troute, Chair of Tourism Industry Aotearoa
  • John Crocker, National Secretary of Unite Union
  • Heather Kirkham, General Manager Tourism, MBIE

The Better Work Leadership Group identified 4 key systemic challenges for the tourism workforce:

Better Work Action Plan challenges

In order to address these systemic issues, 6 Tirohanga Hou (new outlook and ways of viewing or thinking) were developed, underpinned by 14 initiatives to achieve the outcomes sought.

The 6 Tirohanga Hou are as follows:

  1. Recognising quality employers and improving employment standards and practices.
  2. Fit-for-purpose education and training.
  3. Embrace the flux, enable the flex (embracing seasonality).
  4. Improving cultural competency and ensuring authentic storytelling.
  5. Lifting technology uptake and innovation to support Better Work.
  6. Showcasing the great – pathways and people in tourism.

Better Work Action Plan documents 

Below is a summary of the Better Work Action Plan and the full Better Work Action Plan.

Summary: He Mahere Tiaki Kaimahi – Better Work Action Plan

He Mahere Tiaki Kaimahi – Better Work Action Plan

Public consultation

Public consultation on the draft Better Work Action Plan occurred from 10 August to 14 September 2022. A total of 9 in-person and 5 online workshops took place with a total of 108 participants from a range of perspectives.

Read the draft Better Work Action Plan

Key things we heard from consultation include:

  • The Tourism and Hospitality Accord would provide some accountability for the industry, allowing businesses to show they are good employers, and incentivising businesses to invest more in training and pathways.
  • Fit-for-purpose education and training was a priority.
  • Building cultural competency promotes diversity and inclusion in the workforce and could support the attraction and retention of Māori staff.

A Summary of Feedback Report can be accessed at:

Tourism and hospitality workforce survey

The Better Work Leadership Group commissioned Dr David Williamson, Senior Lecturer at the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to conduct a tourism and hospitality workforce survey. The findings of Dr Williamson’s survey have informed the development of initiatives in the Better Work Action Plan.

Just over 900 people participated in the survey. Respondents covered a wide range of roles from front line workers to managers and supervisors as well as a broad range of age groups. This survey is based on the methodology of the Voices from The Front Line 2021 research but encompasses the breadth of the tourism industry (as opposed to the focus of the original report on the hospitality industry). This is a significant piece of work for the broader industry and is the first of its kind.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The most common reasons for people being attracted to the industry were the people in the industry (30%) and the nature of the work (fast paced, fun and flexible) (20%).
  • The most common changes that participants would like to see in the workplace are better pay and conditions, and regular hours/being paid for all hours worked.
  • Nearly a quarter of participants stated they had personally experienced bullying or harassment in the last 12 months and a third of participants stated they had witnessed bullying or harassment in the last 24 months.

You can access the full report at:

Work undertaken

For further information and progress on work undertaken, visit:

Work undertaken

Last updated: 23 February 2024