Tourism operators need to embrace the increase in the minimum wage and strive to be employers of choice, said Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts. “Our industry needs to be committed to providing sustainable employment to its staff, and paying workers fairly is part of this.”

With the minimum wage is set to rise from $15.75 to $16.50,  Tourism Industry Aotearoa is encouraging its members to sign up for the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, a programme TIA launched late last year whereby members commit to making their business sustainable by achieving targets across four key areas of sustainability—Economic, Visitor, Host Community and Environmental.

Mr Roberts said that “the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment includes a business-level commitment to pay a fair wage to all staff. Meeting this commitment will help businesses achieve Host Community Sustainability by providing quality employment. In turn, it will help the wider industry achieve sustainability by ensuring that tourism businesses are seen as desirable and responsible employers.

“We need to attract quality, skilled people to work in the tourism industry, so we must offer appropriate wages and attractive conditions. This includes striving to offer permanent positions and training opportunities.” The Government plans to raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2021.

“The Government is giving employers plenty of notice that the minimum wage will increase so businesses can start preparing now for any wage rises that will be required. SKYCITY has already lead the way with their announcement that they will beat the Government’s timeline for $20 an hour by a year,” added Mr Roberts.

“Treating staff fairly is all part of running a sustainable business.”