Shane Cameron: Operations Manager, Off Road NZ

For Shane, the highlight of working in tourism is giving people the chance to do something they'd never normally try.

Shane is the Operations Manager for Off Road NZ, an adventure tourism business operating in Rotorua. Off Road NZ offers visitors the chance to self-drive an off-road four-wheel drive track, get a thrill in a Giant Monster Truck or take part in go-carting and clay bird shoortin.

What is one of the things that you enjoy most about working in the tourism industry?
That you get to be part of making someone’s day more exciting and enjoyable by helping them to do something they would never normally attempt. Also the after-glow that you get from clients and staff after a big job goes to plan.

How did you get started in the tourism industry?
I sort of fell into it. I had been working as a mechanic for a supplier of Off Road NZ. The previous owners rang me and offered me a job as guide/mechanic/tea maker. We were pretty small then so everyone had to have a ‘make it happen’ attitude. As the business grew I was lucky enough to have my role develop and grow along with it.

What is one of the highlights that you have had?
There have been plenty of milestones over the years I have been at Off Road NZ. The biggest highlights have usually been the look on people’s faces after they have experienced our products. This is especially so when an ‘outside the box’ activity programme or large group has been involved. Our new Kart Experience will be a huge highlight when it is up and running in the next few weeks.

What tourism training have you had?
I graduated with a National Diploma in Tourism Management through *ServiceIQ and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), plus various one day courses in staff management. I also have a trade Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Heavy) which got me into the industry funnily enough.

What advice would you give to young people wanting to work in tourism?
If possible work out which part of the industry you want to work in and where you would like to be in 5 or 10 years time. Get advice on what training will get you there the quickest rather than falling into it like I did. Be prepared to work hard at the behind scenes part of the job so that your clients get the best experience you can deliver. This is what keeps people coming back to you and New Zealand.

 *1 January 2013 the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO), the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) and Retail Institute (RI) merged, transforming into ServiceIQ - the service-based Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the aviation, tourism, travel, retail, wholesale and hospitality industries.