Strong tourism mes­sage for con­fer­ence

Sec­tor vi­tal for econ­omy

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Host­ing about 550 ca­reer ad­vis­ers and pro­fes­sion­als in town from to­day, Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Phillips is keen to push tourism as a se­ri­ous ca­reer vo­ca­tion. And he has some se­ri­ous sup­port. Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bill English is speak­ing at the an­nual Ca­reers and Tran­si­tion Ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence on Fri­day and will be re­mind­ing del­e­gates that tourism is one of New Zealand’s largest ex­port in­dus­tries. ‘‘Around one in 10 New Zealan­ders is em­ployed in the tourism sec­tor, and it con­trib­utes more than $23 bil­lion to the New Zealand econ­omy each year. ‘‘We need skilled and mo­ti­vated peo­ple to pro­vide the ex­cel­lent ser­vice our visi­tors de­serve and de­mand, and to cre­ate in­no­va­tive ex­pe­ri­ences for new mar­kets. We can no longer rely only on the beauty of our land and the friend­li­ness of our peo­ple.’’ he said in pre-con­fer­ence com­ments. ‘‘Queen­stown’s work­force re­flects the num­ber of highly skilled po­si­tions avail­able in the tourism sec­tor.’’ Mr Phillips said tourism had suf­fered un­der the false im­pres­sion that it pro­vided jobs while peo­ple de­cided what to do. ‘‘Our mes­sage is that tourism is a se­ri­ous ca­reer op­tion,’’ he said. Ngai Tahu Tourism south­ern re­gion gen­eral man­ager David Kennedy said no-one ex­plained to him when he started work as a porter in Queen­stown at the age of 20 that he could make a ca­reer in the in­dus­try. He left be­fore re­turn­ing Queen­stown and tourism. Since then, ca­reer train­ing had be­come much more struc­tured, the in­dus­try had be­come more fo­cused on train­ing and re­cruit­ment and tourism was more recog­nised for its con­tri­bu­tion to em­ploy­ment and the coun­try’s econ­omy, he said. Now he had about 80 staff work­ing for Sho­tover Jet, Dart River and the Hol­ly­ford Track dur­ing peak sea­son. The in­dus­try suf­fered from waves of avail­abil­ity of good re­cruits, he said. ‘‘We essen­tially look for strong per­son­al­i­ties that are pas­sion­ate about their job and New Zealand and Queen­stown.’’ Other speak­ers at the con­fer­ence in­clude tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity and clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Nigel Latta, and for­mer Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, now Massey Univer­sity Vice Chan­cel­lor, Steve Ma­harey.

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Photo: SUP­PLIED

Se­ri­ous ca­reer: Ngai Tahu Tourism’s David Kennedy and Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Phillips ahead of this week’s Ca­reers and Tran­si­tion Ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence, in Queen­stown.

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