The Tourism Industry Association has unveiled a plan to boost the industry's workforce by 40 percent or 36,000 people in 10 years.
The plan was announced this morning at the association's annual conference in Wellington.
Tourism is booming with a record $30 billion in visitor spending and more than 3 million visitors this year.
But tourism operators were told at the conference this morning the industry faced many challenges as it aimed for spending of $41 billion with visitor numbers expected to reach 4.5 million by 2025.
Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said there was already a skills shortage, and the industry and other agencies needed to work together.
He said operators needed to attract people by paying more, and offering career paths and better training, while red tape and immigration matters also needed to be sorted out.