No place like home for tourism high flyer

10 July 2023 | News

There’s nothing like leaving a place to increase your appreciation of it.

That’s exactly what happened to Lincoln University tourism alumnus Zac Watson, whose overseas travels during a gap year made him realise how much he loved Aotearoa New Zealand – especially the people.

And the experience set him on the path to landing his dream job, following a period of uncertainty about his next steps after finishing high school.

Tourism seemed like the best choice industry-wise to capitalise on my love of Aotearoa and Lincoln suited me most as a person.

Fast-forward a few years and he’s now the General Manager of Maverick Digital, a marketing agency that helps tourism companies across New Zealand to promote their services.

Lincoln University’s Bachelor of Tourism Management turned out to be great preparation for his career, as he could combine different courses alongside core tourism content, giving him an overview of how the industry worked.

"While studying, I also started to develop a real passion for agritourism and this is something I am actively pursuing today.

"Agritourism is something that I see massive potential in, both as a subset of the tourism industry here in New Zealand, but also as an opportunity to explore and live my passion for the outdoors. I’m an avid hunter and my happy place is in New Zealand’s back country."

Originally from Kūmeu, northwest of Auckland, Zac’s move south to study at Lincoln served him well for a wide range of reasons.

"Looking back, it was one of the best decisions of my life to date," he said.

"I was offshore in the UK at the time of university applications and after a chat to my parents and a bit of research, I landed on Lincoln. It was really about the courses being offered, combined with the concept of a practical, small class-sized learning environment.

"I also have a strong connection to Canterbury and the South Island, as a lot of my family are based there and that definitely helped me feel more at ease moving away from home."

Asked how he would advise others considering a tourism career, he says the industry is full of incredible people and includes an enormous number of roles, from customer service to business management.

"My advice would be to always look at tourism as a viable industry to apply your skills and passion because there will be an opportunity or role for you, no matter what you’re wanting to achieve."