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Tourism students are divided about their future

Lucy Bendell
Air New Zealand Plane
Toursim students are divided about their future  Flickr

The New Zealand School of Tourism has had a drop in numbers after Covid but is staying optimistic.

Tourism School senior general manager, Deborah Dove, admitted it had been a challenging year for the school. 

After Covid-19 hit, tourism student numbers dropped from the usually sold-out course. 

“It definitely affected us and potential students' confidence about the industry," said Dove. 

But the school is optimistic and looks forward to seeing the opportunities slowly return. 

The school has seven campuses around New Zealand but the Christchurch campus does not feel threatened.  

"We're feeling good and excited about the future of the industry but things are going to look different for a while, so we just have to think differently." 

Dove says they know the industry is going to recover and have already seen lots of job opportunities come through.  

“Our students at the moment are feeling quite encouraged because we've got a lot of industries coming on-site to recruit and international opportunity is opening up again.” 

Dove says they can already feel things changing and they have hope it will keep increasing.  

New Zealand business has started to reach out to the tourism school for staff, and Dove says there is a great opportunity for students.  

But a past student at the school, Gemma Irvine, said she loved her time there but lost confidence when Covid hit. 

"Knowing that it’s going to be a long time for things to get back to normal."  

Irvine said she felt useless studying at the school to become an air hostess when that may not be a reality.  

She kept studying throughout lockdown but finished at the end of the term.  

A lot of her classmates felt the same, as they were about to start their overseas diplomas.  

Irvine also felt pressure from the public when she told people what she studied, “I would be laughed at every time”.  

But Dove says now the trans-Tasman bubble has opened, more opportunities are starting to arise.  

"What the trans-Tasman bubble has allowed is job opportunities in Australia for students."

Dove is feeling more relieved that there is a better opportunity for the students at the moment. 

"We’re starting to see more opportunities come through, domestically and internationally."

They still have a significant amount of students across New Zealand studying and the students are excited.  

“I think young people are really resilient generally and want to get on with their career aspirations. 

"We are confident about the future, and everyone loves to travel, and we have certainly seen that domestically and how robust that’s been and that will pick up again that internationally. 

"It's been a hard time for tourism across the board and we really feel there for the industry, it's just been a challenging time, but feeling like there is some light there now.”