Too Close to Servility? Why Is Hospitality in New Zealand Still a ‘Cinderella’ Industry?
Something strange is going on in New Zealand’s hospitality industry. While the sector is booming (with tourism bringing in 34.7 billion dollars in 2016 and driving record growth in hospitality jobs and hotel building), New Zealanders seem to remain unconvinced about the legitimacy of hospitality as industry and as a career choice. At a time when there are thousands of new jobs being created in hospitality, why does it remain a ‘dummy subject’ in schools? Why do so many parents ‘get the hint’ and hope their kids do anything other than hospitality work? In the 1950s the New Zealand tourism sector was known as the ‘Cinderella of industries’, underfunded, of ‘doubtful value’ and home to poor quality jobs. This paper argues that the New Zealand hospitality is the modern Cinderella industry and is burdened by three historical legacies, which are affecting our ability to maximize the current opportunities in hospitality, and threaten a sustainable future for the sector: distrust, disdain and the legacy of neo-liberal reform.