On 17 March 2020 – just one week prior to lockdown – Go with Tourism made the decision to pivot in response to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to have on New Zealand’s tourism industry.
It was clear that they would no longer be able to concentrate on placing people into tourism work, but instead would need to try and support the thousands of tourism workers who were about to lose their jobs.
"We knew we needed to move quickly," says Programme Director Matt Stenton.
A business case was delivered to Go with Tourism’s Industry Advisory Group by 19 March and unanimous approval to pivot was received on the 20th. Just one day after lockdown, on 26 March 2020, the new strategy of supporting New Zealand’s tourism workforce and updated website were launched publicly.
Between March and August, the assistance programme saw more than 2400 people register, made up of displaced tourism workers and businesses in need of guidance.
And as of October 2020, they had helped place more than 700 people into new roles.
Matt says, "It was also fantastic to see a trend of retracted redundancies – meaning people who had registered with them were returning to their old roles – which is a result of the amazing way our team of five million handled the pandemic."
Since New Zealand has moved down levels and the country has been allowed to go back to some normalcy, Go with Tourism has moved forward with initiatives from the original strategy in an effort to encourage students into education and to breakdown the stigma that surrounds tourism careers.
"Our message is clear: tourism is down, but it’s not out – and it’s still a fantastic industry to work in."
"We hope to encourage our next generation of workers to take up the tourism roles that will steadily return over the next two-five years."
This story is part of TIA's #TourismChampions campaign. View more inspirational stories here.