Authenticity is the key to NZ tourism success

News News & events

01 Jun 2017

Ara Institute of Canterbury has introduced a new Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management to help the tourism sector ensure that the growing number of international visitors to New Zealand have world class and authentic experiences – every time.

“In tourism you have one chance to get it right,” the new Programme Leader in International Tourism and Hospitality Management at Ara, Dr Michael Shone says. “To do that, people across the tourism industry need the skills and knowledge to deliver high quality experiences.”

The 3.59 million international visitors to this country annually – or 187,000 on any one day – is expected to continue to grow. Projections indicate that the sector will need an additional 20,000 service workers over the next 10 years. This makes tourism an attractive prospect for exciting entry level occupations with good career progression and the option to work internationally.

The new qualification will ensure that Ara graduates have the understanding and experience to progress to management positions both here and overseas. The qualification is also ideal for upskilling for those already in the work force.  

“Tourism is a globalised industry. The supply and demand flows are international, so we need to raise our eyes to see what global trends look like. How do they impact on our practice here in New Zealand? How do we incorporate contemporary issues such as authenticity and sustainability into our work?”

For inspiration, Dr Shone looks to Melbourne, a city that is he says; “really clever at how they present themselves as a city and create a range of engaging and clearly defined tourism experiences”.

“Melbourne’s brand is not just sport tourism, it is not just AFL, Grand Prix or the Australian Open; it’s arts and culture, it’s shopping, it’s also the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Southern Ocean. Melbournians have a healthy competitive streak against Sydneysiders, so there’s a really good motivation to differentiate themselves.”

While a lot of places fail on the authenticity scale, Melbourne, Dr Shone says, “strikes me as being a nice mature city; they are comfortable in their skin. Rather than offering tourists what they think they want, they say ‘this is who we are, these are the things you can do here - take it or leave it’. I think that goes a long way towards authenticity.”

Meanwhile in New Zealand, we don’t have the scale of Melbourne with its population of 4.5million, but we do have good products and differentiation – from Lord of Rings site photo opportunities to oyster festivals and starry skies. How we maintain and deliver those experiences and cultivate authenticity will be the challenge for the new managers coming through in the industry.

To help them prepare for those challenges Ara has stepped up from the tourism certificates and diplomas it currently offers.

The new degree incorporates extended work placements to ensure that students are ready to hit the ground running with skills and experience to contribute to deliver excellent experiences straight away.

The Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management is ready for semester 2 enrolments. For those wanting to upskill to the next level, Ara also recognises professional experience towards academic credits through the Centre of Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL) at Ara.

Read more: The Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management