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Go with Tourism to provide free support service for New Zealand tourism workers and businesses

Go with Tourism to provide free support service for New Zealand tourism workers and businesses
March 27, 2020

In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Go with Tourism is shifting focus from building New Zealand’s tourism workforce to supporting it.

The New Zealand Government-funded initiative, developed by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to build the country’s tourism workforce, has launched a free service to support industry workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, through redeployment, guidance, advice, and educational pathways.

Through one-on-one interactions via phone or video calls, an online Knowledge Hub and curated innovation sessions, Go with Tourism aims to assist with redeploying displaced tourism workers and providing guidance to businesses in need of advice.

The new platform will also be a one-stop-shop for those wanting to upskill themself, with free courses available online and options to explore educational pathways.

The change in direction will also see Go with Tourism gather real time data and insights which will be collaboratively shared with industry and used in its eventual rebuilding.

Go with Tourism Programme Director, Matt Stenton, says that in the current climate it is important to shift focus to supporting our tourism workforce, advising “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.”

The change of focus for Go with Tourism has the full support of Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), on behalf of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust.

TIA Advocacy Manager Steve Hanrahan says the organisation is doing all it can to support the thousands of tourism workers impacted by COVID-19, commenting “some businesses will not survive, while others will be fundamentally different when they start operating again. 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”

Support has also been given by Go with Tourism’s Industry Advisory Group, made up of representatives from TIA, ATEED, Hospitality New Zealand, Restaurant Association of New Zealand, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

ATEED’s General Manager of Destination, Steve Armitage, says that ATEED will provide further short-term support to assist Go with Tourism.

Armitage added “this is an important move that will provide a lifeline to many hardworking people who have suddenly found themselves out of work, whilst also ensuring a pipeline of key personnel support is accessible for a range of businesses providing essential services at this time.”

Next steps for Go with Tourism involve connecting and collaborating with all industry organisations and associations to support the tourism workforce to the full extent.

Businesses classed as essential services, which are in need of staff, are encouraged to reach out to Go with Tourism, who will help place the right people into the right roles.

Throughout this period, Go with Tourism will gather real time data and insights which can be collaboratively shared with industry to identify areas of greatest need and support.

Assistance will be available via gowithtourism.co.nz and a member of staff will be in touch within two working days to offer personalised support.

Additionally, all offers of help will be gratefully received. Contact can be made via kiaora@gowithtourism.co.nz.

The initiative launched in April 2019 as a job connector to address a growing skills shortage in the tourism industry. After joining forces with TIA, Go with Tourism received $5.2 million in funding from the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy to expand the programme nationwide.

Images: Go with Tourism staff are ready and willing to support businesses and workers through the spread of COVID-19 (top, courtesy of Mike Kim/Go with Tourism) and New Zealand's roads are now empty of tourists (below).

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