Yes, a World Class Visitor Experience is Possible
It is with much regret that over the last three years I have watched the tourism industry pour money down the drain in
the development and marketing of a front-line customer service training programme “Essential Service Skills.
This regret comes from my inability to get the industry to reconsider their outdated approach and methodologies while
the programme was still in the development stages.
It was disappointing to watch the Minister of Tourism John Key stand up and enthusiastically launch the programme in
2009 and those involved confidently tell the media that the goal was to have 7-10,000 people go through the programme
before the World Cup.
We are now just days away from Rugby World Cup kick off and less than 1,500 people have been through this heavily
subsidised training programme.
Believe me I get no pleasure out of saying “I told you so” but what I’m sincerely hoping is that TNZ, TIA, ATTTO and the
ITOs who were involved with this programme will now at least give us an opportunity to present our thoughts as to how in
an increasingly competitive market the industry can deliver on their 2015 tourism strategy goal of “delivering a world
class visitor experience”.
Over the last six months almost everyone from the Minister of Tourism John Key down, has commented on service as an
issue in the tourism industry. I have seen research that backs up these comments and yet no action as a result
The tourism industry has a clear goal in its 2015 strategy and that’s “To deliver a world class visitor experience”. A
goal that everyone I speak to in the industry agrees with. But they also agree that at present this goal is just
“inspirational words” with no commitment and no strategy to move the industry towards that goal.
What I believe the industry needs is a clear and compelling strategic approach to achieving this vital goal and that
starts like any strategic approach with a commitment.
The industry needs to clearly define the goal “to deliver a world class visitor experience” because ultimately that will
be the measure of success. Satisfied visitors are no longer enough.
The quality and consistency of our visitors experience both domestically and internationally is vital for the future
growth of the tourism industry. What’s important now is that we learn from our past efforts and move on.