New Zealand’s travel industry has experienced an “epidemic” of job losses as a result of the ongoing crisis in the country’s tourism industry, according to the countrys leading travel agents.
The Ministry of Tourism said it was experiencing a shortage of foreign workers and a surge in international students, many of whom were from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
In a report to the government on Thursday, the ministry said that the number of foreign tourists to New Zealand had dropped by 15% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
The Ministry said the number was down from a year earlier because of the crisis in tourism in general.
However, there was a further drop in the number travelling to New York, which saw a fall of 17%.
New Zealand has lost 1,000 jobs, and there are an estimated 2,000 vacancies in travel services.
“This has hit the hospitality industry hard, especially when it comes to the demand for skilled workers, as well as the demand from students coming from overseas,” said Simon Stokes, the country s director of business development.
“We’ve been hit hard in this regard.”
Stokes said that more than 1,600 people were being let go from tourism jobs in the past 12 months.
New Zealander Chris Anderson, the chief executive of New Zealand Travel Association, said the problem was compounded by the fact that foreign students were taking up jobs overseas that were already filled.
“I think people are worried that if they are not paid well, they will be able to go home and take their jobs with them,” he said.
Stokes added that while foreign students could be used to fill those vacancies, many students had already left the country.
“It is really tough when you are losing people,” he added.
“You are losing a good worker for your family and you don’t want to lose that.”
The ministry said there was also a lack of skilled staff for foreign travel agencies.
New Zealand Tourism Association chief executive Simon Stakes said the industry had suffered from an oversupply of foreign talent, which meant the majority of those positions had been filled by foreign nationals.
“That’s really hit the industry hard,” he told the ABC.
“We are seeing people from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, which are going to come back here and find work here, but it’s going to be a long haul to make that back to the mainland.”
The shortage has left some businesses facing a serious shortage of staff.
Auckland Travel Agents and Travelers Australia, which represent most of New York’s overseas visitors, has reported a rise in demand for staff.
The New Zealand Tourism Board has also seen a rise of vacancies at its offices in Wellington, Christchurch and Wellington, with a rise from 4% in March to 15% this month.
Meanwhile, many hotels and motels have been hiring more staff to fill vacancies, particularly those in the hospitality sector.
There are more than 8,000 hotel vacancies across the country, up from 1,500 in March.
Auckland Airport said it had made a decision to close its Wellington Airport terminal, with only two staff left working there.
Its vice president of hospitality and hospitality operations, David Wilson, said that there were still a number of vacancies in Wellington’s airport.
“The Wellington airport is a major airport, and it’s a busy airport.
We need to get our hands dirty and do some of the work,” he says.”
But that’s the way it is.”
Wilson said the airport was considering closing a third runway, although he did not know whether that would happen this week.