Deputy Tourism Minister, Fish Mahlalela, on Tuesday officially launched the 13th edition of the National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) - 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 tourism expo is a collaborative initiative between various government entities including the department of tourism, culture arts, tourism, hospitality and sport education training authority (CATHSSETA), the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and its provincial marketing agency, Gauteng Tourism Authority.
Scheduled to take place from September 29 to October 1, 2023 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre -NASREC, the event is expected to attract as many as 10 000 learners and teachers.
Since it started in 2008, the NTCE has aimed to bridge the information gap between the tourism industry and learners. It also provides a unique platform for the unemployed youth to interact directly with potential employers. It also exposes them to a range of possible career paths they can pursue including vocation in the tourism sector. Furthermore, it creates temporary employment and business opportunities for the surrounding communities of Soweto, Riverlea and Nasrec.
A fitting theme
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 the 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 path, job and entrepreneurial prospects and further education opportunities in the tourism sector. Our mission is to inspire present and prospective tourism learners and unemployed youth to rise to new heights in search for tourism careers and professional opportunities,” said Mahlalela.
Critical lever to drive economic growth
According to Mahlalela, the tourism sector is one of the critical intervention areas that are at the heart of government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan - and it is vital in driving the country’s economic recovery. In addition, the minister that 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.
“Tourism is a people-centred interactive service industry that strives to create memorable travel experiences. The travel and tourism industry is highly competitive, innovative and always adapting to new trends and technologies.” He added that tourism offers limitless career opportunities which range from food and beverage, cruise ships, transport, adventure tourism, travel trade, events and conferences to tour operators, tourism entrepreneurs and travel bloggers.
Some of the highlights of the 2023 NTCE will include motivational talks by leading local tourism entrepreneurs and personalities, tourism educator seminars, exhibitions by local tourism products and related services. Other attractions 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. This is 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 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, and researches and re-imagines classic cocktails.
• Hospitality Corner will offer insight into the diverse range of hospitality 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 will gain insight into how to join this industry.
• The Virtual Classroom and Recruitment Arena is the place where job seekers can engage with potential employers and get the low-down on job hunting, what employers are looking for, how to craft a CV and how to prepare for interviews.
• Educators’ Seminar provides an opportunity for educators to interact with speakers from various institutions, industry bodies and organisations.
Those interested in attending the NTCE 2023 are requested to register and visit www.gauteng.net