Go with Tourism – an initiative that specialises in growing New Zealand's tourism and hospitality workforce – has been awarded $2 million from the International Visitor and Conservation Levy (IVL) to continue its efforts in tackling the industry’s current skills shortage. 

The funding was announced this morning by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. 

In his speech, Minister Nash emphasised the connection between delivering a world-class visitor experience and mounting pressure on tourism and hospitality workers to meet growing tourist demand. 

“Like any industry, success depends on those working within it. This means investing in our people and deepening the talent pool. This investment [in Go with Tourism] will be vital in building the tourism workforce back up.” 

Go with Tourism was developed by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s legacy organisation Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to address skills shortages in the Auckland region. Four months after launching in April 2019, the Government announced the initiative would receive $5.2 million from the IVL to expand the programme nationwide.  

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s Director of Investment and Industry Pam Ford says:  

“We are thrilled at how the Go with Tourism initiative has grown into as a critically important nationwide programme since we launched this initiative in 2019.  

“Workforce demands are challenging across many industries and so it’s great to have Go With Tourism leading a focussed programme that will not only support tourism and hospitality businesses in the short term, but also proactively address a key resilience gap of our visitor economy in the long term.” 

The $2 million investment will cover a 12-month period from October 2022. It enables Go with Tourism to expand upon current workstreams that connect jobseekers with employers, promote study and career opportunities to youth, and challenge industry perceptions. 

Go with Tourism Programme Director, Heidi Gillingham, says that attracting workers into tourism and hospitality is the top priority for the year ahead. “The next 12 months’ worth of talent attraction is what we have been gearing up for since we launched in 2019. We have built a good reputation, partnered with thousands of businesses and established ourselves in classrooms around New Zealand; now, with this funding, the industry can be assured that a dedicated and well-prepared team will lead the way in tackling workforce challenges and doing our utmost to fill tourism and hospitality roles in both the short and long term.” 

Covid-19 forced Go with Tourism to temporarily pivot its strategy to redeploying displaced tourism and hospitality workers into other jobs; however, by July 2020, the team returned to their original mandate and has since achieved wins such as: 

  • 1,899 jobseekers placed into work 
  • 4,926 jobseekers assisted with industry careers 
  • 305 students placed into work experience 
  • 2,656 businesses engaged 
  • 833 classroom sessions presented 
  • 75% of students engaged with said they would consider a career in Tourism and hospitality 
  • 153,501 visitors engaged with via career expos 
  • Delivering the industry-led Workforce Wānanga, the results of which have fed into the Better Work Action Plan 
  • Career pathway stories that reach millions through social media and paid campaigns 

With funding confirmed, Go with Tourism can continue to offer its services, free of charge, to best assist employers, educators, students and jobseekers nationwide. The team also look forward to providing their clientele with new and improved opportunities for recruitment or training.  

“We’re in strategy mode,” says Gillingham. “We know exactly what we want to achieve in the next 12 months and we’re exploring fresh, innovative ideas and new collaborations to ensure we meet these goals.” 

About Go with Tourism:

Go with Tourism is a job matching and youth engagement programme dedicated to building New Zealand’s tourism workforce, launched in 2019. Initiated by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the nationwide programme is independently governed by the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust. 

The Go with Tourism initiative was inspired by nationwide research led by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s legacy organisation Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Tourism Industry Aotearoa. The project was commissioned in 2018 to discover what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism. The resulting report, Tourism Youth Perceptions, found that there is stigma associated with the industry.