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The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela, on Tuesday officially launched the 13th National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) for this year, considered to be one of the country’s flagship career exhibitions. Coinciding with Heritage and Tourism Month, the event was launched at the iconic Maropeng Visitor Centre – Cradle of Humankind, North West of Gauteng. The theme of this year’s Expo is Tourism Investments for People, Planet and Prosperity.
The 2023 Expo is a collaborative initiative between various government departments including the Department of Tourism, Culture Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and tourism and Sport Education Training Authority (CATHSSETA), the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and its provincial marketing agency, the Gauteng Tourism Authority. Scheduled to take place from 29 September to 01 October 2023 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre (NASREC), the event is expected to attract as many as 10 000 learners and teachers.
Since its inception in 2008, the NTCE has aimed to bridge the information gap between the tourism industry and learners. It also provides a unique platform for unemployed youth to interact directly with potential employers, exposing them to a range of career paths they can pursue including the tourism sector. Furthermore, it creates temporary employment and business opportunities for the surrounding communities of Soweto, Riverlea and Nasrec.
Expo as Job Creator in Tourism Careers in South Africa
In his address, Mahlalela said his department wants to use the Expo to drive the goal of the National Tourism Sector Strategy to create an additional 300 000 tourism jobs opportunities by 2026. South Africa faces an alarming youth unemployment crisis which has been described by various experts as “a social ticking time bomb” if nothing drastic and urgent is done to address it. Mahlalela said the theme was chosen to highlight how the government, sector stakeholders and private sector have invested in tourism to drive initiatives that create opportunities.
“The theme also gives expression to our vision of being a leading platform for communicating career paths, jobs and entrepreneurial prospects and further education opportunities in the tourism sector. Our mission is to inspire the present and prospective tourism learners and unemployed youth to rise to new heights in tourism careers and other professional opportunities,” said Mahlalela.
Tourism Critical for Driving Economic Growth
According to Mahlalela, the tourism sector is a critical intervention area at the heart of government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and is vital in driving the country’s economic recovery. In addition, said the minister, his department and other role-players have developed a tourism sector recovery plan anchored on three interlinked pillars or strategic themes; protecting and rejuvenating supply, reigniting demand and strengthening enabling capability for long term sustainability.
Many Career Opportunities in Hospitality and Tourism
Mahlalela further said that tourism is a people-centred interactive service industry striving to create memorable travel experiences. “The travel and tourism industry is highly competitive, innovative and always adapting to new trends and technologies, offering a plethora of career opportunities ranging from food and beverage, cruise ships, transport, adventure tourism, travel trade, events and conferences, tour operators, tourism entrepreneurs and travel bloggers.
Main Attractions at Expo
Some of the highlights of the 2023 NTCE will include motivational talks by leading local tourism entrepreneurs and personalities, will feature tourism educator seminars, and exhibitions by local tourism products and related services. Other attractions will entail live engagements such as:
• The Chef’s Corner is a cook-off by graduates of the National Youth Chefs Training Programme, facilitated by the South African Chefs Association, a firm favourite for youth interested in a culinary career;
• The Mixology Corner will bring the art of creating fun, enjoyable beverages to life. Mixology is a special craft and an age-old tradition of skilfully mixing various drinks and ingredients to create cocktails with or without alcohol. While mixology and bartending are related, it is generally accepted that a mixologist creates innovative cocktails often using unique or uncommon ingredients, researching and re-imagines classic cocktails;
• The Hospitality Corner will offer insight into the diverse range of careers from hotel and event management to casino directors;
• Conservation Corner: Nature conservation has a direct impact on the future sustainability of tourism. Youth interested in nature and tourism careers will gain insight into how to join this industry;
• The Virtual Classroom and Recruitment Arena will be where job seekers can engage with potential employers and get information on job hunting, what employers are looking for, how to draft a CV and prepare for interviews.
• An Educators’ Seminar will provide an opportunity for educators to interact with speakers from various institutions, industry bodies and organisations.
Those interested to attend the NTCE 2023 are requested to register by visiting www.gauteng.net