New 300,000 tourism jobs in South Africa as Minister launches National Tourism Careers Expo

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Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlalela has launched the 2021 National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) which will take place at the Joburg Expo Centre at Nasrec from Friday, March 25, to Sunday, March 27. “The NTCE will assist in driving the goal of the National Tourism Sector Strategy to create an additional 300,000 tourism jobs in South Africa by 2026,” he said.

The NTCE aims to help create and build jobs in the tourism industry and takes place this month with the theme Rebuilding A Resilient And Inclusive Tourism Sector For The Future. This is the 12th hosting of the expo which was postponed last year to March because of the Covid-19 pandemic and is the first time it has taken place in Gauteng.

As well as the not-to-be-missed three-day live in-person event there is also an exciting virtual component, which will allow visitors from other provinces to attend online.

The NTCE will showcase careers, skills development initiatives and business opportunities that exist within the tourism sphere. Since its inception in 2008, it has successfully bridged the information gap between the industry and learners and offered the youth an opportunity to interact directly with potential employers in the sector.

It also shares valuable and up-to-date insights into South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industries as they return to a new normal following the pandemic.

The event is free-of-charge upon pre-registration.

It is aimed at Grade 8 to 12 learners; university, FET (further education and training), TVET (technical and vocational education and training) college students and unemployed graduates to see what the tourism and hospitality industries have to offer in terms of career, entrepreneurial and job opportunities.

Information sharing

The event also provides an opportunity for tourism curricula experts to share information with tourism educators and learners and for stakeholders within the sector to share information on diverse careers available in the sector. It is designed to bridge the information gap between the industry, government, learners and educators.

Minister Mahlalela spoke about the impact the pandemic had upon the sector and what government was doing to assist in its rebuilding.

“Tourism was all but decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This sector was the first to close when travel ground to a halt globally and the last to partially re-open. It was a catastrophe of note, decimating both lives and livelihoods,” he said.

“The tourism sector is one of the critical intervention areas that has been identified in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as it is a key driver of economic recovery in South Africa. Tourism is the world’s fastest growing employment sector that continues to adapt to new trends.

Boosting SA talent pool

“To drive growth and recovery of the tourism sector, we need to boost the talent pool. A demand-led skills supply in the sector is therefore pivotal. While tourism is a significant economic lever, it is so much more than generating revenue. Tourism is a people-centric sector with people at the heart of its brand,” he continued.

“Young people are a prominent and significant demographic that must be involved in the economic emancipation of our nation; this they can only do through arming themselves with education. As government, we want to expose young people to the opportunities to better their lives, hence the National Tourism Careers Expo,” he concluded.

His views were echoed by the CEO of the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) Sthembiso Dlamini who was also at the launch: “The NTCE’s theme Rebuilding A Resilient And Inclusive Tourism Sector For The Future reinforces the fact that tourism continues to be the most vulnerable to disasters and other disruptions. COVID-19 is a classic example of how the sector and its entire value chain collapsed.”

The NTCE aims to facilitate interaction between tourism stakeholders and educators as well as learners so that information and knowledge can be shared on available education and training opportunities as well as to showcase available tourism professional opportunities and their worth in the South African and global economy.

Highlights include:

• Motivational talks by leading South African tourism entrepreneurs and personalities

• Exhibitions of South African tourism products and related services

• Specific platforms highlighting tourism career opportunities

• Platforms assisting youths to prepare for entrepreneurial development and job opportunities

• Interesting interactive platforms

• Learner competitions and debates

• Tourism educator seminars

• Digital and social media platforms designed to profile tourism career opportunities

The event is hosted by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the Culture Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Education Training Authority (CATHSSETA), the Gauteng Department of Economic Development represented by its provincial marketing agency, the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA).

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