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#Youth4Tourism to turbo-charge SA tourism industry

#Youth4Tourism to turbo-charge SA tourism industry
23-06-23 / Shelly Nxumalo

#Youth4Tourism to turbo-charge SA tourism industry

Cape Town - South Africa's tourism industry has the potential to boost the country's economy and create significant employment opportunities. An ambitious new private sector initiative launched by the Youth Employment Service (YES) and financial services group, Sanlam, is expected to be a game-changer for this critical sector.

Youth4Tourism, aims to bring together a range of businesses to help unlock this opportunity through the creation of over 1,000 youth jobs in phase one, supporting thousands of SMEs in the tourism value chain across South Africa.

According to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Africa’s travel and tourism sector is expected to create almost 14 million new jobs over the next decade, with growth of 6.8% annually between 2022-2032.

The SA tourism sector, according to Statistics South Africa, is larger than both the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, and is structurally key to growing the domestic economy through both leisure and business travel.

The first phase of the project will see youth across South Africa being put to work to promote and support tourist attractions nationally, through showcasing their hometowns and surrounds and, through their creative outputs, guiding both local and international tourists across the country.

“South Africa’s tourism sector is rebounding rapidly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and is a major driving engine to create youth jobs and drive economic growth. Through this initiative, we hope to add further momentum to the sector,” said YES CEO, Ravi Naidoo.

Paul Hanratty, CEO of Sanlam, says, “Close to 250 000 young people lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2023, which brings the total number of unemployed youth to 4.9 million. This is devastating in a country where our demographic dividend should be our greatest asset. Through this programme, we want to galvanise the private sector to sponsor the placement of talented young people in the tourism sector. We’re calling for other corporates to join us. It’s our collective responsibility to change this narrative, for the sake of our youth and the country.

“At the same time, we’re focusing on upskilling young people in the gig economy, specifically enhancing their skill capabilities in driving tourism. By doing so, we aim to create microentrepreneurs. SMMEs are the backbone of our economy and empowering our youth to start viable ventures is critical for the future health of our nation.”

Hanratty adds: “Sanlam is purpose-led and committed to empowering all Africans to be financially confident, secure, and prosperous. This must start with our young people. They must be cherished and given everything they need to live their most meaningful lives. By investing in our youth, we foster pride for our nation.”

Get Involved and change the face of SA tourism

“YES has already placed the first 650 youth in the Youth4Tourism initiative in implementation partners across six provinces. These youth will be developing skills in content creation and ecotourism”, says Naidoo.

“We need businesses across sectors to join the movement and create diverse work opportunities for youth within the sector. The opportunities are endless: tour guides, event coordinators, content creators, concierges, chefs, resort managers, travel agents and many, many more.”

Organisations can join phase one of this movement in three ways:

  • Funding of youth jobs through innovative placement partners identified by YES. This can form part of their B-BBEE or social impact initiatives.
  • Identify events, conferences, and content creation opportunities for these talented young South Africans to create content to showcase South Africa as tourism destination via the YCC “gig” work platform.
  • Contribute hardware including photography and videography equipment for a Section18A tax break.

Naidoo concludes: “It’s time to bring together corporate South Africa like never before to tell our tourism story to the world. We’re talking TikTok’s up Table Mountain, informative Instagram reels about the Big Five, photo essays on lesser-known villages, YouTube videos on ecotourism destinations, and blog reviews around local cuisine. By sharing our stories with the world through the honing of relevant digital skills, we can spark a wave of tourism that can transform the entire economy and create thousands of jobs.”

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