Tourism & hospitality jobs

Put your skills to the test in New Zealand and enjoy a lifestyle you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Imagine being able to utilise and grow your skills meeting the demands of visitors from all around the globe – then, in no time, be relaxing on the beach, cutting a swathe through beautiful powder snow or just chilling with friends.

That’s what you can look forward to when you bring your skills to New Zealand.

Working in New Zealand tourism hospitality

A growth business

The tourism and hospitality sector is big business in New Zealand. In fact, it’s currently our second largest export earner, providing nearly 17.1% of total export revenues. Visitors spent $10 billion for the year ending December 2016, up 12.2% on the previous year.

International Visitor Survey | MBIE

Meeting global standards

Of course, we’ve got great scenery - and air travel is far more accessible now than it used to be. But the success of New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality businesses isn’t just down to luck.

Overseas visitor numbers, which topped 3.7 million in the year ending January 2018 (up 5% on the previous year), have doubled every decade since 1970. Visitors come from a diverse range of countries: in order, our top 10 tourism markets are Australia, China, USA, UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, India. Each of these groups have their own characteristics and expectations. 

To meet their demands, the industry has had to lift its game and work at truly international standards, in the process creating great opportunities for its employees.

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Tourism and hospitality skills needed

Demand for workers is expected to stay high, driven particularly by growth in overseas tourist numbers. Tourism spending is forecast to grow to 15.3 billion in 2023 while visitor numbers will increase by 39%. That will equate to over 4.9 million visitors a year - each one of them needing tourism and hospitality workers to cater to their needs. 

Over 94,000 jobs are directly related to tourism - over 4% of the workforce.

Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.

If you are offered a job which appears on one of these lists and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.

But if your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and resident visa options. Tourism and hospitality jobs on the lists include:

  • chef
  • skydive instructor
  • snow sport instructors. 

Skill shortage skill checker | Immigration New Zealand

Tourism and hospitality new zealand

Where and when

The biggest concentrations of jobs in tourism and hospitality are, naturally, in the top tourist destinations of Auckland, Queenstown, Canterbury/Christchurch, Rotorua/Bay of Plenty and Wellington. However tourism and hospitality jobs are found almost everywhere.

Demand for tourism workers is highest in summer, which is when a third of international visitors choose to visit. About one-fifth of overseas visitors arrive in winter. Some tourism jobs are specific to different seasons, so job opportunities may be available for part of the year only. For example, kayaking guides are needed only in summer, while workers in snow sports, such as ski instructors, are needed in winter.

Visa options

There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.

Visas to work

Hospitality worker's guide

Whether you're looking for work or already have a job lined up, our Working in Hospitality guide is definitely worth a read.

It covers how our industry is different than what you might be used to, health and safety requirements, Kiwi slang and much more.

Working in Hospitality guide

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Page last updated: 22/06/2020

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