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Ideas for putting the TIA’s Sustainability Commitment into action

Posted on 21/11/2017 by

Wise words from Chris Riddell’s presentation at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa.

ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley recently attended Tourism Summit Aotearoa, where she learned more about the TIA’s Sustainability Commitment. Here are some of her thoughts and ideas for putting sustainability into action as the tourism industry works towards its Tourism 2025 goals. 

Having had an exhilarating experience at the Tourism Summit Aotearoa Workshops this week, I feel compelled to share some of my own thoughts and ideas around how the tourism industry can thrive and prosper as we all zoom towards the collective Tourism 2025 vision.

But first, I’d love to do a quick shout-out to Chris Riddell and Lisa Tumahai. I found your presentations incredibly inspiring. I lost track of all time and thought when you were speaking. All of the speakers were amazing (I think I rated everyone as ‘excellent’), but you both really spoke to me on a personal level. So, THANK YOU!

Anyway, I digress. The major talking point of the Summit was the launch of the TIA’s Sustainability Commitment. An amazing initiative that blew me away. After reading the Commitment and their BIM, I applaud TIA in the actual WORK they are doing to make 2025 happen, which is no easy task. Their values and vision make it feel real, and I’m sure there will be huge uptake in the industry.

Four values from the Sustainability Commitment stood out to me in particular:

  • Sustainable Employment: Businesses pay a fair wage to all staff.
  • Quality Employment: Businesses support their workforce to flourish and succeed.
  • Community Engagement: Businesses actively engage with the communities in which they operate.
  • Sustainable Supply Chains: Businesses have socially and environmentally sustainable supply chains.

I truly believe the success of the tourism industry depends on these commitments to sustainability, quality, and community.

With these values in mind, I wanted to share some practical strategies and advice that tourism businesses can start deploying TODAY to help them stay on track towards the Tourism 2025 vision.

Get out there!

Go and meet your local education and tertiary providers (across all levels) – they are there to help you recruit talented employees. They will give you the best insight into your future workforce. Also network with your local careers and transitions advisors, as well as councils and educators. They are desperate for industry input, guest speakers, and advice.

Say yes to YES 

Get involved with the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES). Yes, this will mean that you need to give up some of your time, but trust me, as someone who has done the YES scheme for 7 years now, this will enable you to understand the next working generation. Not to mention you will inspire and motivate some amazing entrepreneurs. I love doing this and perspective and insight are beautiful things. Remember, plantation and rain forest attitude!

Network on LinkedIn

Clearly I love social media, I’m a Gen Y trapped in a Millennium’s head (haha). But in all seriousness, there are benefits to spending time on LinkedIn to grow your local network and headhunt on your terms (without the cost). You can also promote your business to candidates you really want to work with before anyone else snaps them up. Remember, though, that as with any social network, building a community takes time. Listening and talking are key. Some of the most successful CEOs I know spend hours a day on LinkedIn, not because they have nothing else to do, but because it enables them to learn so much more than from meetings, reading, and endless coffees!

Innovate and diversify

Oh, I could go on and on (and on and on) about this one! But to keep it simple, you can’t innovate in business without some amazing talent and DIVERSITY! And this means diversifying your business with all genders, cultures, and ages. So embrace the millennials and Gen X’rs, they might not meet your expectations of “in my day”, but you never know, they might save your business from dying a death! Let them loose, ask for their feedback, ideas and to test your technology. Word of warning, though, don’t undervalue social media or just leave it to an intern because social media is one of the most important representations of your business and your strategy.

Get involved with local charities

Give back to the people and charities in your communities that matter most. And do so with authenticity and integrity! The whole ‘day off for a charity’ thing really does my head in, it’s token and not at all values-based. Instead, talk to your staff and find out the issues that matter most to them, and make contributions that are personal to your team. For example, we encourage our students to help us decide which events they want us to contribute to; you could do the same with your customers. People are kind, and this truly shines through when they are given the opportunity to think about others.

Commit to fair pay

Okay, I’ve saved the best until last (I’m hearing the clicks of goodbye now!). A huge thanks to TIA for raising this ever-important issue. I don’t know your financials, but I think fair pay is crucial. Examine your numbers, think long-term, think churn, think HUGE recruitment costs – and fair pay starts to look a lot more affordable. We committed to lift our minimum wage salaries to the living wage in 2015, and it was a challenge, but you know what – I wouldn’t change a thing. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (it’s the people, it’s the people, it’s the people). People are the most important aspect of our business and why would I want them to feel like they are minimum? All our staff are worth way more than that.

I hope my thoughts have provided you with some ideas to keep pushing forward and meet the industry’s challenge head on.

And if you’re ever in doubt, just remember what Chris Riddell said: “Disruptive Innovation is the new Punk Rock” (I always wanted to be a Punk!).

If you ever want some advice about recruiting, staffing or training, please email me. I want us ALL to be successful and sustainable.

Thanks for reading!

About Claire Huxley

Claire is Marketing Director at the International Travel College of New Zealand. She’s responsible for governing, leading and developing all the business growth and marketing strategies of the ITC brand. She’s passionate about education, the tourism industry, and of course, travel! You can reach her on


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