26 Mar 2020

$5m expected to provide 'lifeline' for tourism workers

4:43 pm on 26 March 2020

The 'Tinder for tourism' job connector will now offer a free support service to tourism workers and businesses hit hard by Covid-19.

GLENORCHY, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 2018: Tourists visiting the famed red hut at Glenorchy on the banks of Lake Wakatipu

Tourists visiting the famed red hut at Glenorchy on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Photo: 123RF

Go With Tourism was launched in Auckland last year to help address a growing skills shortage in the tourism industry.

It was in the process of expanding nationwide, after receiving more than $5 million from the international visitor levy, when Covid-19 struck.

Programme director Matt Stenton said the pandemic meant Go With Tourism needed to evolve.

"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," Stenton said.

The new service will include one-on-one calls, an online knowledge hub and courses aimed to help redeploy or upskill displaced workers.

Go With Tourism will also gather data and insights to share with the industry.

"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," he said.

Essential services that need staff are encouraged to reach out to Go with Tourism.

The industry has backed the focus change.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa advocacy manager Steve Hanrahan said thousands of tourism workers were currently being supported.

"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"

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development developed Go With Tourism.

It's destination general manager said ATEED would provide additional support to assist Go With Tourism.

"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," he said.

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