The journey so far

a group of people canoeing at Split Apple Rock in Nelson. Split Apple Rock is a large apple shaped boulder that is split in half, sitting in shallow water on a beautiful beach.

Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Tourism's Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) is 1 of 8 ITPs active across Aotearoa New Zealand

ITPs were created when the Government committed to a policy which seeks to grow and transform industries with significant potential to contribute to a high-productivity, high-wage, low-emissions economy that offers resilience in good times and bad. All ITPs are created in partnership by the industry, unions, Māori, and government. Together, they set a long-term vision for transformative change through near term actions.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the lead government agency for the Tourism ITP, supporting the Better Work Leadership Group through secretariat services.

The tourism ITP is taking a phased approach 

The Tourism ITP is taking a phased approach to the problems and opportunities in the industry, enabling a more focused approach to each phase. The first phase is the Better Work Action Plan – He Mahere Tiaki Kaimahi (to care for people who work in our industry). The next phase is focused on the environmental challenges and opportunities for tourism.

Creating the final Better Work Action Plan 

The Better Work Leadership Group was established in late 2021 to discuss workforce problems and opportunities, analyse the root causes of these problems, and think about future trends that will impact on the tourism workforce. A draft Better Work Action Plan was created from this discussion, suggesting a package of actions to address the problems and harness the opportunities in the Tourism industry, which we have called Tirohanga Hou. This comes from the Te Reo Māori phrase ‘He Tirohanga Hou’.

He Tirohanga Hou means a new outlook and ways of viewing or thinking.

The use of the term Tirohanga Hou in this document refers to each of the 6 ideas or areas for action to create a better outlook for the tourism workforce. It recognises that our aim for the Better Work Action Plan is to identify new ideas tourism can pursue to reach a better future.

The draft Better Work Action Plan was publicly released for consultation from 10 August 2022 to 14 September 2022. During this time, a series of in-person and online workshops were held to gather people’s thoughts and feedback. There was also an online survey open for people to provide written submissions, and people were also able to send in email responses. Over 100 people participated in the workshops, and there were a total of 106 written submissions (made up of 80 submissions via the online survey and 26 submissions via email).

Feedback from public consultation and agencies across the tourism industry has been considered in the preparation of the final Better Work Action Plan by the Better Work Leadership Group. This has helped ensure the Tirohanga Hou identified reflect realistic opportunities for change, and the initiatives put forward are workable.

The Better Work Action Plan sits within a rich ecosystem of initiatives and is informed by previous strategies

The Better Work Action Plan does not sit in isolation. It builds on and aligns with other government workstreams including:

  • the Government’s Employment Strategy and its 7 supporting Employment Action Plans
  • other ITPs
  • the Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery
  • the Reform of Vocational Education (including the formation of Regional Skills Leadership Groups, Workforce Development Councils, and Te Pūkenga)
  • and the Immigration Rebalance.

The Better Work Action Plan builds on, and aims to, enhance existing work for the tourism industry.

We would also like to acknowledge and recognise the work of the New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce interim report We are Aotearoa and the strong foundation it laid for many of the conversations we have had to date.

Defining the tourism industry 

Government defines tourism as a cross-cutting industry defined by the consumer, rather than goods or services that are consumed. Most other industries are defined by the products that are manufactured and sold. For example, the forestry sector is defined by wood products, and the fisheries sector is defined by seafood. For tourism, the definition is based on who is buying the goods or services.

This is consistent with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation definition of tourism – “tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes”. Therefore, ‘domestic tourism expenditure’ is any spending by those living in New Zealand that occurs outside the purchaser’s usual environment (whether that is residence or place of work); regardless of what the goods or services are. As a result, tourism cuts across a multitude of sectors.

Tourism spending is most prevalent in the activities, entertainment, accommodation, hospitality, transport, and retail sectors.

The hospitality sector has featured prominently in our thinking about the tourism workforce, and as such, hospitality industry representatives have been included on the Better Work Leadership Group, to help inform development of the Better Work Action Plan. Hospitality represents a large proportion of the tourism workforce and, when it comes to the workforce, tourism operators and hospitality businesses share many characteristics. Therefore, although the Tourism ITP does not address the full range of the issues facing hospitality, many of the initiatives apply equally well to the hospitality industry. The Tourism and Hospitality Accord is a particularly good example; it will enable a range of businesses to demonstrate good employment practices that will support recruitment/retention and be attractive to consumers, ultimately boosting productivity for both tourism operators and hospitality businesses. 

Defining regenerative tourism

A regenerative tourism system is one that leaves people, communities, and the environment better than it finds them, and can be understood as an extension of sustainability. Regeneration occurs in systems that are healthy, thriving, and self-healing, in contrast to systems that continuously degrade and, as a result, become more vulnerable to shocks. A regenerative tourism system will inherently be more resilient than other systems.

Last updated: 28 June 2023