Confirmation of tourism as a new NCEA subject is a welcome development for tourism educators and the tourism industry, says AUT hospitality and tourism senior lecturer Megan Roberts.
‘Both sectors have been especially hard hit by the global pandemic,’ she says. ‘It is an acknowledgement of the contribution of tourism to the national economy and of a desire for communities across New Zealand to benefit from a renewed and regenerated tourism industry.’
Roberts says tourism education in Aotearoa has long suffered from a ‘disparity of esteem’; being predominantly categorised as vocational, the study of tourism has lacked credibility while often perceived as less rigorous compared to more traditional subjects.
‘These perceptions have contributed to declining tourism student numbers and a dumbing down of the curriculum at secondary school level. Consequently, the tourism industry struggled to attract workers, even before the pandemic.
‘NCEA level tourism courses have the potential to develop analytical, creative and critical thinkers with a desire to contribute to the future of tourism in Aotearoa.’