A word from Dylan Rushbrook, Tourism Central Otago general manager


No time like the present to launch tourism career

Launching your tourism career in 2022 brilliant idea?

If you’ve been thinking about a tourism career, I reckon 2022 is the perfect time to go for it.

I appreciate this might sound odd to most people but here is my rationale will always seek out new experiences.

Travel is something that can be undertaken with relative ease and research tells us that people will be travelling to destinations as soon as they can do so easily.

A key element of the travel experience is service and interaction with others, which is something automation cannot replace.

This means there will always be demand for staff.

Looking at tourism careers, essentially nothing has changed in the need for staff, so why do I think 2022 is the year to get into tourism?

It’s because if you are good and prove yourself, you will progress rapidly.

What took me five years to achieve might take someone only two in the current environment.

Why is that?

It’s because the tourism industry is extremely understaffed, even to meet the current domestic only demand.

Fast forward to later in 2022 when we expect to see borders reopening and international visitors returning. There will be a huge workforce gap.

This means anyone in the industry can expect to work very hard, but additionally they will have the opportunity to move up the ranks rapidly.

I remember my first role as a 16-year-old kitchen hand getting paid about $12.50 an hour.

For the next five years or so my pay didn’t get much better to be honest, but I stuck at it.

I learnt more, moved up and by the time I was 30 I was earning well above the average wage.

Between then and now (I’m 43) I’ve travelled the world for work, I’ve met amazing people, enjoyed more tourism experiences than most and managed to secure a wonderful lifestyle for my family here in Central Otago.

I have literally had the best time getting to this point. I can’t think of another career path that would have offered me such fun and opportunities along the way.

I won’t sugarcoat it though.

Those first five years for me were tough and they will be for people entering the industry today, too. You may only just get by initially but with effort and the right motivation you should soon be earning good money, having a heap of fun along the way and making some lifelong friendships and memories.

The difference in 2022 is you will have more opportunities to prove yourself and move up the career ladder quicker.

Let me provide some validation for my comments.

As well as being general manager of Tourism Central Otago, I am also a shareholder in a New Zealand-based tourism talent agency with international offices.

Throughout New Zealand and Australia we have clients with extreme staff shortages.

In a recent tourism industry survey, workforce came out as the single biggest concern for the next five years.

It is 100% an employee market right now, which I see will continue for a few more years.

For those wanting an incredible career, I genuinely think 2022 is the year to make it happen.