The future of New Zealand’s tourism industry is looking brighter with confirmation that Tourism has been accepted as a new NCEA Achievement Standard subject in secondary schools from 2023.

The news has been welcomed by Tourism Industry Aoteoroa, Go With Tourism and the Tourism Teachers Association, TTA-NZ.

“TIA has long advocated that Tourism should be taught in this context to educate learners on the deeper complexities of the tourism industry, and help to attract more pupils to the diverse and inspiring careers that tourism offers,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.

Matt Stenton, Programme Director of Go with Tourism said: “For three years, I have been a vocal supporter of changing how tourism is taught and viewed in secondary schools.

“Despite the hard work of our amazing tourism teachers, the current unit standard curriculum does our industry more harm than good. It is deemed unworthy of top students and has had a reputation as a “bum” subject. This is a key factor why there is ongoing stigma surrounding Tourism careers.

“However – prior to COVID – Tourism was the largest export industry in New Zealand, generating $40.9 billion for the country. It employed eight per cent of our nation’s workers and demand for talent was skyrocketing. It was, and will be again, a powerhouse industry for New Zealand. We need a curriculum that recognises this, as well as the incredible range of career opportunities it offers Kiwis.

“The news of an achievement-standard subject is a welcome change – the future of Tourism will benefit greatly from new generations of highly skilled graduates.

“While Go with Tourism has been an enthusiastic supporter of this change – doing what we can when we can – I would like to give my sincere thanks to the true champions behind this campaign: Tourism Teacher’s Association New Zealand. This fantastic group of people led the charge, and they ought to be very proud of themselves right now.

Recognition by Universities

“No doubt, our next milestone will be to have Tourism recognised as a university-entrance subject; but I look forward to seeing the positive change that will happen as a result of this recent win.

The new Tourism achievement standard subject will not be introduced until 2023 at the earliest because the Ministry of Education will need to develop the curriculum over the next year, hopefully alongside TTA-NZ, educators and industry. It is also useful to remember that once introduced in 2023, it may take some time for all schools to offer it to students.

 “While this is an excellent upgrade for the Tourism subject, the next milestone will be to have it recognised as a University Entrance subject. An application will need to be made to NZQA to start this process in time for the next UE review, which occurs every four years.”

TIA supported the Tourism Teachers Association NZ in their campaign to get Tourism included as an Achievement Standard subject and appreciates the work they have done.

Tourism Teachers Association Chairperson Julie McDougall says: “It has been a perfect triangle of communication and support between secondary tourism teachers, tertiary tourism educators and industry which now enables secondary tourism students in the future to be able to study tourism as a subject and the tourism industry as a whole in a modern, relevant and comprehensive way. The TTA-NZ Executive committee is delighted and remains committed to supporting the development of Tourism Achievement Standards.”

Chris Roberts says that although tourism has been deeply affected by the pandemic, the industry will recover. Tourism employers around the country will require more of the right people with the right knowledge and skills. TIA considers that including Tourism in the Achievement Standard framework at schools will raise the status of tourism as a subject and properly educate our future workforce.

Tourism offers numerous roles that require critical, innovative, analytical and creative thinking. People often think of tourism employment in terms of frontline teams, but behind these teams are well-trained and qualified people in a range of roles including digital tourism marketers, yield managers, transport managers, human resource personnel, operations managers, general managers and chief executives.

To read TIA’s submission to the NCEA review programme, go to

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