Cape Town - Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom told hundreds of pupils in Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape that about a million people are employed in the tourism industry, and encouraged them to consider the profession.
Addressing the Tourism Careers Expo at Rocklands High School, which his department hosted for pupils from seven schools in the area, he urged: “Use this opportunity to gain information about career and business opportunities. Study hard and do well (in exams) and one day you could be the owner of a big (tourism) business.”
The pupils - from Rocklands, Glendale, Darul-Argam Islamic, Westridge, Tafelsig, AZ Berman and Spine Road high schools - also received career guidance brochures and information from the expo’s exhibitors.
Hanekom told pupils that tourism was about celebrating the country's culture, its natural heritage as well as its beauty.
Reminding them of the unemployment in the country, he said if pupils work hard to advance themselves in school, they won't fall into the trap of unemployment in later life.
He said over a million people are employed in the tourism industry, and “we must make sure tourism grows by marketing our country and making tourists feel welcome”.
Hilton Hotel Group area human resources manager Peter Thomas told pupils he grew up in Atlantis, left school in Grade 10 and was idle for two years before starting to work as a security guard.
After resuming studies and working hard, he advanced to his current post. He explained that there were various career opportunities in tourism.
Commenting afterwards, Rocklands High Grade 10 pupil Jody-Leigh Willemse said the presentation had been interesting and inspiring for pupils studying tourism.
Her classmate and fellow tourism pupil Tamsyn Brookes said the event had pointed out different directions she could take in tourism.