Kelly Harris.

Hospitality New Zealand has commended Kelly Harris, Upper South Island Regional Manager, on her appointment to the newly established Nelson-Tasman Interim Regional Skills Leadership Group (iRSLG) announced by the Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson.

The group is one of 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups, tasked to provide independent advice, which employers and government agencies will act on to help re-employ, redeploy or retrain workers who have lost their jobs or closed their businesses due to the pandemic.

Hospitality operators have experienced a slowdown in tourism since early in the year, with revenue falling by as much as 30 percent since January 2020.

Thousands of hospitality and accommodation workers have been laid off and considerable further job losses are expected, including many from supporting industries such as laundry services, baking, food distributors, tour companies, travel and transport.

The iRSLGs feature regional industry leaders, economic development agency representatives, iwi and other specialists, all of whom will contribute their knowledge and local expertise to grow regional economies as part of the Covid-19 recovery plan.

Harris has been an integral part of Hospitality New Zealand’s regional presence throughout Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman, Buller and Westland for the last several years. She will contribute an experienced point of view on the strategies needed to rebuild the hospitality and tourism sectors in those areas.

“I’m delighted to be a part of a government initiative that promises to push forward tangible pathways for economic recovery in the Nelson-Tasman region,” says Harris.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White, said “Congratulations to the Nelson-Tasman iRSLG, for recognising the value of appointing someone with the breadth of knowledge Kelly has within the hospitality sector. This is great news for hospitality providers and venues in the Upper South Island. With her skillset, she’s well equipped to advocate on behalf of the sector, understands its challenges, and more importantly – what’s needed for its recovery.”

The iRSLGs will operate from this month onwards through until June 2021, although the term may be extended by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The New Zealand hospitality and tourism sectors collectively bring $40 billion per year into the economy and employ more than 400,000 Kiwis, but have been hit harder than most other industries.

“Hospitality New Zealand looks forward to working with all of the iRSLGs across the country and assisting them with their respective recovery programmes. We’ll be providing input and guidance on the hospitality industry and will be watching with interest to see what sort of recommendations emerge, ” concludes White.

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