A lack of young people interested in working in the tourism industry is affecting local employers.

Tourism youth perceptions research conducted by the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and Tourism Industry Aotearoa found young people were reluctant to sign up to a career in the industry.

They perceived tourism jobs did not pay well, were low-status, anti-social, temporary and with limited career pathways, the research revealed.

Some Rotorua and wider Bay of Plenty tourism companies say they struggle to find employees, especially given the seasonal nature of their work, while others have come up with perks to retain staff.


There are currently 7652 people employed in the tourism sector in the Bay of Plenty.

Rotorua's Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said there was a lot of salary confusion within the industry and working in tourism was often "tarred with a certain brush", which may deter some people.

Button said with such a diverse range of jobs, salaries varied from minimum wage to the "big bucks" and there was potential to climb the ladder.

Tamaki Maori Village has introduced employee perks to attract younger employees, such as transport to and from work and a $150 per child back-to-school grant for young staff who were parents.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology currently has 160 students studying at all levels of their tourism courses.

Bart Vosse, the faculty leader of tourism, hospitality and service industries, said the perception of opportunities in the tourism sector had been an issue for many years.

"Many parents, schools and other influencers are not seeing the opportunities for their family."

However, a strong economy and a buoyant employment market had led to many people choosing to enter employment directly rather than studying first.


Vosse said the seasonal nature of the tourism industry presented challenges in retaining capable staff.

Rotorua School of Tourism campus manager Tarsha Ormsby said enrolments were up, with 2019 being their biggest year to date.

Yudu editor Helen Van Berkel said the average salary for workers in the sector was $43,689, but she said it was an industry offering a wide variety of roles. Salaries varied from role to role and depended on experience.

Currently, Yudu has 14 jobs on offer in the Bay of Plenty tourism sector.

Kath Low from Tourism Bay of Plenty said the organisation had developed a Visitor Economy Strategy with the aim to create 4000 additional jobs in tourism by 2028.

Currently, job growth in the Bay's tourism sector has halved to 0.6 per cent in the year to March 2018, compared to 1.2 per cent growth in the previous year.

Low said in the last 10 years, tourism employment earnings had increased by 48 per cent.

The struggle to find tourism employees looks to continue as the growth in the sector is projected to considerably outstrip the growth of the working-age population.

The People and Skills: Tourism 2025 report shows the Bay of Plenty's employment need for 2025 sat at 41.3 per cent growth, with the working-age population only expected to increase about 5 per cent in that time.

The report also underlined a 40 per cent staffing shortage anticipated nationally by 2025.