Showcasing the great – people and pathways in tourism

While the rest of the Better Work Action Plan is targeted at delivering meaningful improvements to working conditions in tourism, this Tirohanga Hou focuses on highlighting the great that already exists.

Despite the significance of tourism and hospitality to the New Zealand economy, there have been some challenges around highlighting the range of opportunities and progression pathways available to those working in the industry. In particular, working in tourism and hospitality is often viewed as low-paid, insecure work with limited career options [1]. These perceptions contribute to recruitment challenges, which can be exacerbated by reports of high-pressure work environments. Tourism and hospitality are not alone in this – there has been a systemic undervaluing of service industry careers in New Zealand for decades.

This is a perception we want to challenge through the ITP. We know that these perceptions do not match the lived experience of many thousands of people employed in the tourism industry who have pursued diverse, rewarding careers. The Auckland University of Technology undertook the Tourism and Hospitality workforce survey throughout 2022. The survey had over 900 participants, below are some of the reasons given for joining the industry:

  • "Being around people and creating a welcoming environment for others"
  • "Active work, variety of service, alternative lifestyle"
  • "Passionate people delivering lifetime memories"
  • "Fell in love with the human connection side to it. I'm a people person"
  • "Opportunities to grow and engaging with people"
  • "A flexibility to travel and work around the globe"

Showcasing the value of tourism and hospitality jobs will have a valuable secondary outcome of highlighting businesses that are demonstrating leading employment practices, helping other businesses see possibilities for them. 

Initiative 13: A national campaign to showcase different elements of better work

A key initiative of this Tirohanga Hou is a nationwide campaign to showcase and celebrate the diverse potential career pathways, points of entry, and career variety the industry has to offer. This initiative received broad support through consultation and was identified as an important action to improve work outcomes and help address workforce shortages.

Initiative 13 – Public campaign to showcase Better Work

Run a nationwide campaign to showcase better work in the tourism industry. This will include showcasing:

  • the education pathways and careers now open to students, including the introduction of tourism Achievement Standards for NCEA levels 2 and 3
  • the great variety of careers on offer in tourism
  • the people who are pursuing these careers, at different points along their journey
  • places to work that are using purpose-driven business models.

Outcomes sought

  • To showcase the good in the tourism industry – the rewarding careers on offer, as well as the diverse range of people who make up the industry and the valuable work they do.
  • Shift perceptions and build an understanding of the tourism industry as one where people can have meaningful and fulfilling careers and their skills are important and valued.

Features of this campaign may include some, or all, of the following:

  • Compelling, authentic stories of real people that properly reflect the reality of working in the industry.
  • Reaching beyond workers to ‘influence the influencers’ – for example reaching those people who help school-leavers make their career decisions, such as parents, career advisors, and teachers.
  • Highlighting the valuable and transferable skill sets that working in tourism develops, such as teamwork, multitasking, time management, flexibility, resilience, and customer service.
  • Highlighting examples of great terms and conditions of employment and values driven work.
  • Promotion of the horizontal as well as the vertical pathways available within the industry.
  • Promotion of the new NCEA Tourism Achievement Standard at Year 12 (level 2), which was developed in extensive consultation with the tourism industry.
  • Demonstration of the variety of pathways into, through, and out of the tourism industry – highlighting how the tourism industry has the flexibility to appeal to people of all walks of life.

To implement the campaign, research will need to be carried out to better define the target audience of the campaign, refine its key messages and strategy, and develop the best way for it to be rolled out (for example, on what platforms, and over what timeframe).

Timing of the delivery of the campaign will also need to be considered and should follow implementation (or significant progress towards implementation) of other key initiatives from the Better Work Action Plan, to demonstrate progress in delivering better work for the industry.

"It appears premature for the sector to initiate more public campaigns before attempting to respond to many of the other big problems in tourism, including industry growth and social license concerns."

Hotel Council Aotearoa Association
Public consultation, August 2022

Key partners to deliver this successfully will include businesses whose employees will feature in the campaign. The Tourism and Hospitality Accord could be a vehicle for identifying some of these businesses.

A key piece of feedback from public consultation was that this campaign should not be delivered by government and that it should be led by industry organisations which have an established reputation and branding awareness in the industry.

Once the campaign has been launched, a thorough evaluation will be conducted to understand the impact of the campaign, assess if it warrants extension, and whether any modifications to messaging and delivery should to be made.

Initiative 14: Stronger direction for Go With Tourism 

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

Build on the success of GWT to continue to attract workers to the sector, and undertake a review of GWT’s ongoing funding, strategic direction and scope, and organisational arrangements.

Outcomes sought

Support GWT to continue to deliver its valuable attraction and connection functions to build the tourism workforce. A review will aim to enable GWT to build on its strengths and comparative advantages.

Although the draft Better Work Action Plan did not reference Go with Tourism (GWT) in its proposed actions, this section has been informed by an independent impact report on GWT undertaken in 2022, which was based on extensive engagement (surveys and interviews) with the people and organisations who work with GWT. 

The Better Work Leadership Group agrees with the findings of the impact report, which found GWT has been an asset to the industry, in part by promoting tourism and hospitality careers and breaking down stigma and negativity of the industry.

At the same time, the report highlights that GWT has the capacity to increase its value proposition in the coming years. To achieve this, it requires greater certainty about its longer-term funding and organisational home in order to retain talent and continue to mature as a programme.

What is Go With Tourism?

GWT is a government-funded initiative which specialises in growing New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality workforce. The objectives of GWT are to improve the perceptions of tourism career pathways and to attract more people into the New Zealand tourism workforce.

As part of its establishment phase, in its first 3 years of operations GWT has tested its abilities and impact across a range of different functions and has adapted to a rapidly evolving employment market and tourism industry. 3 years into its operations, we observe that GWT is adding most value where it is:

  • improving perceptions, building awareness of and attraction into the tourism industry
  • engaging with youth and those looking to enter/re-enter the job market
  • making connections between tourism educators and the tourism industry, to help add richness to the education offering and provide teachers with valuable teaching resources. 

These outcomes directly contribute to Better Work outcomes for the tourism industry.

Proposal for GWT's future

As GWT looks to the future, it is important to identify where it can have best impact and where improvements can be made. These are important questions for any organisation looking to grow and mature.

To secure the future of GWT, a review of 2 key matters should be undertaken. The first is the scope of functions it undertakes. GWT has tested and demonstrated abilities in many areas and there is now a question about where those abilities are best focused for maximum impact. The second is a need to secure ongoing funding (as it is currently funded until October 2023). This could be sourced from a range of stakeholders, with changes in the mix of contributions over time, as GWT continues to demonstrate its value to the industry.


  1. Edwards, P. (August 2018) Perceptions of Careers in the Tourism Industry [PDF, 2.8 MB](external link) — Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and Tourism Industry Aotearoa [Back to text]
Last updated: 28 June 2023