Tourism paves the way to greener pastures for the youth

Winners of the National Tourism School Competition. Photo by Katleho Morapela

Five learners and teachers will represent South Africa at a youth in tourism global summit that will be held in Europe next month. This comes amidst the second round of the National Tourism Career Expo held at Pacofs in Bloemfontein. The group that will be heading abroad were part of a National Tourism School Competition and won the category of Prestigious Tourism Research.

First-prize winners from Sandton View School in Gauteng will be in France for a five-day period, while they learn more about international careers in the field of tourism and hospitality. They will also present to the world what South Africa has to offer.

An educator from Sandton View School, Stanford Sithole, says they are privileged to have walked away with the first prize and that it provides them with an opportunity to broaden their learners’ knowledge on prospects that could be brought by choosing a career in tourism. “As a tourism school teacher I have been entering these competitions for the past four years with no luck, but this day has proved otherwise. As a country we are faced with a number of socio-economic challenges, which puts the future of our youth into question, but with an increasing interest in subjects such as tourism, our hope for sustainable economic development for this country grows,” said Sithole.

Among the second prize winners for the category of Best Tourist Attraction Digital Photos and Essay Writing, are pupils from the North West Province. Refilwe Letsapa from New Region Secondary School says she is honoured to have been acknowledged for her writing and regard this as an opportunity to continue enhancing her writing skills.

The 2016 second round of the National Tourism Career Expo did not only see young people passionate about tourism being awarded, but also saw more than 10 000 learners from across the country gathering in Bloemfontein to gain knowledge of different tourism and hospitality careers that they could pursue. Among those gathered in the City of Roses were those from the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. A large number of learners from various districts in the Free State graced the event with live performances.

Highlighting the importance of tourism and the role it plays in the economic development, the MEC of the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea), Sam Mashinini, mentioned that there is a high need for young people to gain skills in the tourism sector as a means to alleviate poverty and unemployment. “Careers in this sector will enable these young people to establish sustainable businesses and livelihoods.”

This National Tourism Career Expo started on Wednesday and will end on Saturday 1 October. Any person interested in a career in tourism is welcome to attend this expo at Pacofs in Bloemfontein.

Katleho Morapela/ Courant News