Ecozip guide James McNally has been one of the faces of the Go with Tourism campaign. Image: Supplied
Go with Tourism has pivoted from building New Zealand’s tourism workforce to supporting the industry’s employees in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move by the government-funded initiative sees it aim to help the redeployment of displaced tourism workers and provide guidance to businesses as they navigate the outbreak and, in due course, begin a post-crisis rebuild.
This has seen it launch a new platform via gowithtourism.co.nz with a range of free services including one-on-one support via phone or videocalls, an online knowledge hub, and curated innovation sessions.
It also planned to gather real-time data and insights “which can be collaboratively shared with industry to identify areas of greatest need and support”
Programme director, Matt Stenton, said: “Tourism has gone from being New Zealand’s number one export industry to the hardest-hit industry as a result of Covid-19, and many within this hugely talented group of workers and operators are now in a really tough situation.
“Someday soon we will look to these people to rebuild our tourism industry. We have to look after them now to ensure we don’t lose them.”
Businesses classed as essential services were also being encouraged to reach out to Go with Tourism, which would help place workers.
The initiative was originally developed and launched by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development in April 2019 as a job connector to address a growing skills shortage in the tourism industry.
It subsequently joined forces with Tourism Industry Aotearoa and received $5.2m in funding from the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy to expand the programme nationwide.
TIA advocacy manager Steve Hanrahan said the association backed the initiative’s change of focus and was doing all it could to support the thousands of tourism workers impacted by Covid-19.
“Some businesses will not survive, while others will be fundamentally different when they start operating again,” Hanrahan said.
“But the industry will definitely want to do all we can to retain the skills and expertise of our workers, and this pivot by Go with Tourism is important in enabling this.”
Go with Tourism said it would switch back to a rebuild strategy “when New Zealand [was] ready”.
2 Apr 2020 Banks resistant to lend to tourism – TIA