Increasing implementation of automation has brought global concern over the future of jobs in various sectors. This study conceptualizes how automation, found in tourism to be driven largely by labor shortage, can be used to promote decent work. Utilizing Grounded Theory to analyze data from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with industry practitioners, this study provides rich descriptions of the transformation brought by automation to companies, employees, and wider society and develops a theoretical model to explain ‘Decent Work through Automation’ (DW–A). In doing so, this study opens a pathway for further research on technology and decent work in tourism, including second- and third-order impacts of automation. The paper offers practitioners and policymakers guidelines for responsible adoption of automation.