Survey: Acute shortage of experienced tourism staff in NZ


While many Canterbury tourism operators are still in survival mode, other tourism businesses in New Zealand are struggling to find staff with the necessary skills, according to the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation’s (ATTTO) 2011 Tourism Workforce Survey.

ATTTO is the industry training organisation for New Zealand’s aviation, tourism, travel and museum industries.

The survey gives a picture of the size, demographic profile and seasonality of the tourism workforce, and the extent to which a lack of skilled staff is affecting tourism businesses.

Anecdotally, many Canterbury tourism operators were still “very much in survival mode” and there was still a lot of uncertainty on gauging things such as staffing levels, ATTTO chief executive Elizabeth Valentine said.

But nationally, about half of 300 businesses surveyed said they expected their staffing requirements to increase during the next three years, indicating a growing need for skilled or experienced tourism employees.

The survey revealed pay rates were often lower than the national average, which posed a challenge for operators looking to attract and retain top people, Valentine said.

The research would help prioritise the way ATTTO worked with the tourism industry to help businesses develop and adapt to the needs of new markets, such as the sophisticated demands of wealthy Chinese and Indian tourists, she said.