Debunking perceptions

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By CASS MARRETT

A Queenstown woman’s encouraging young people to choose tourism as a career.

Go With Tourism (GWT) lower South Island regional coordinator Amanda Linklater says there’s ‘‘definitely’’ a negative perception of the industry among young people.

‘‘I’ll be like, ‘so what have you heard about tourism?’, [students] will be like, ‘tourism is dead’,’’ she says.

Linklater’s job is to go into schools throughout the lower South Island and educate students about the tourism industry — she visited Wakatipu High School last month to talk to a geography class.

‘‘Rather than just people thinking if you’re joining hospitality, tourism, you’ve got to be a chef or a cleaner … it’s going into it and being like, ‘there’s someone who needs to market and sell the area, there’s engineers that work within Air New Zealand to make sure the planes are running’.

‘‘Tourism is not just those entry-level frontline positions that everyone thinks it is, there’s much more to it.’’

She’s been with the organisation since February, but GWT was established in 2019 after a Youth Perceptions report showed young people were keen to get into the tourism industry, but were often discouraged by parents, teachers and media.

‘‘We were brought on board to change those perceptions, to educate and also with a platform to connect people with employers, and vice versa,’’ Linklater says.

Through GWT, businesses can take part in ‘Pledge a Placement’, and GWT will connect businesses with students for work experience.

‘‘It’s really hard to get students into the workforce because they don’t have much on their CV right now, they haven’t ever had any experience, so it’s like a catch-22.

‘‘[We’re] just bridging that gap essentially.’’

Employers can get in touch via gowithtourism.co.nz.

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz