Simon Mckearney and John Willson Simon Mckearney and John Willson

More feedback on youth report

Last week, TRAVELinc Memo provided extensive coverage of the just released Tourism Youth Perception Research Report.


Today we continue to run feedback from leaders in the travel industry. • See earlier stories p1, 2, 3 TRAVELinc Memo Friday 24 August.


Simon Mckearney, chief executive officer Helloworld NZ, says tourism is an incredibly important industry from our country’s point of view. ‘Like travel, it is a profession that is easy to be passionate about. Who wouldn’t want to be at the forefront of promoting this amazing country of ours. I agree with the negative perceptions that are noted but they are unfair – by virtue of the growing importance of this industry we are going to be desperately short of people – hopefully with a shortage of personnel, wages will rise, which in turn will bring the calibre of individuals needed.'


Mckearney says the government needs to give the industry its due and appoint the appropriate level of ministerial support along with investment in viable career pathways. ‘As travel brands, we are often promoting the virtues of other countries, it’s probably time we promoted the virtues of our own backyard.’ 


John Willson, general manager retail at First Travel, says that in terms of young people in the travel industry ‘everything depends on the actual person. Are they enthusiastic, reliable, intelligent, and do they have a passion for travel? These are all qualities that if the young person doesn’t have, they will never make a great career in the travel industry. New people in the industry soon find out that it’s not all about travelling the world six months of the year, twice a year, and making great money. It’s actually a lot of hard work in those early stages which either makes or breaks the person’s enthusiasm for the travel industry. In my experience I see short careers or long careers. The short careers are those that usually fit into what I have described above. The long careers are those that actually get ‘travel’.'


‘There is a tremendous amount of training, which requires dedicated learning from the actual person to even begin to succeed in the industry. Yes, you do start at the bottom, and they understand the employer is taking on a huge risk in investing in the training of a new young recruit. But are the rewards there? Yes, of course – but only available to the ones who demonstrate that ability to excel,’ says Willson.