Tourism firms find it up to 15 per cent more difficult finding staff than the New Zealand average, according to a government report.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment finds firms report more difficulty hiring the large, mainly lower skilled workforce they rely on to meet seasonal demand.
In the four years between 2007 and 2011 the number of firms reporting their perception of skilled staff as being "bad" had fallen from 30 per cent to 24 per cent, while those who believed it was good had increased from 14 per cent to 27 per cent.
Tourism employs 5.7 per cent of the workforce, with 110,800 fulltime equivalent employees and the $23.9 billion industry contributed 3.7 per cent of GDP in the year ended March 2013, down from 4.6 per cent in 2003.
In the industry comment section of the report that focused on skills, one Maori tourism leader said there was a poor perception about career pathways.