1. There’s an African proverb which states that, and I quote: He who does not cultivate his field, will die of hunger – unquote.


  1. Programme Director; I have deemed it quite significant to open my talk with this proverb, as it perfectly accentuates and explains why we have converged here this morning, to cultivate a seed. Indeed, if we do not direct the future generation towards the careers significant to tourism growth, then it will be our fault for not having cultivated the seed properly. Meaning ideas are seeds! Therefore, you must plant them!


  1. Undoubtedly, education is the most potent tool easily accessible to our children, so that they can be their own liberators. Like former president tat’u Nelson Mandela opined, and I quote: Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor; that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine; that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation”, unquote.


  1. It is, therefore, my utmost honour and pleasure, to address this inaugural Provincial Tourism Careers Expo, under the theme: “Rethink Tourism: Career Opportunities Await”. This morning’s convergence of great minds, thus, provides an interactive platform to showcase different careers, skills development initiatives and business opportunities in the tourism sector.


  1. This Expo seeks to inspire our young people to take advantage of these opportunities, and strategically to consider the tourism sector as a career and profession choice. We, thus, hereby invite the youth to be active participants, as we Rethink Tourism as the career and profession of choice, and as an exciting journey towards inclusive economic growth through entrepreneurship.


  1. As young people who chose tourism and hospitality studies, you are undoubtedly vital to the future of the tourism ecosystem. And the tourism sector, in the main, depends on the young people to visit and explore most of the tourism destinations and product offerings at their disposal. The return of young travellers, as the world re-opens post the COVID-19 pandemic, brings hope for many millions of people.


  1. Programme Director; the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recognises the significant role young people play in the growth and development of the tourism sector. For this reason, youth empowerment, including through offering education and training opportunities, as well as access to decent jobs, is one of our key priorities.


  1. And as the ANC-led government, working collaboratively with all our stakeholders, we are committed to ensure that this Career Expo goes a long way to nurture and shape your exciting and bright future ahead of you. We are here to hold you by the hand, as you navigate the waters towards an exciting journey in their career and life.
  2. As young people, you represent hope and the future. If we don’t take care of our youth, we are doomed for failure, as succinctly expressed by Oliver Tambo – one of our outstanding liberation stalwarts – when he said, and I quote: The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future, unquote.

  1. The fact that we have gathered here today, is a demonstration of our seriousness about youth development and empowerment; we are determined to invest and direct the future of our country not tomorrow, but today. We do this because you, our learners, and students, represent the pristine future of the tourism sector of our Province and our country at large.


  1. As a generation living in the interesting era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), you are regarded as the incubators of enduring solutions, for some of the most pressing and strategic challenges facing the tourism sector, as far as technology is concerned. That is why our Department of Economic Development and Tourism has collaborated with the Department of Education, in this regard.


  1. We have converged here this morning, primarily to expose you, to tourism career and enterprise development opportunities, and to further cultivate the spirit of entreneurship within you – the learners and the young people within the tourism industry – as earlier articulated.


  1. Programme Director; this Tourism Careers Expo responds to some of the key findings identified in research conducted in 2008, which reflects that:

  • The tourism industry is perceived to provide menial and low paying jobs, with long working hours, and no career progression;
  • Tourism was a non-designated subject in high schools and tertiary level, but designation has been scrapped lately;
  • Tourism is a subject perceived to be chosen by the “less intelligent”;
  • Tourism is an easy subject that is mostly taught by educators who do not have tourism qualifications;
  • Tourism education and training is supply driven; and that
  • Tourism future HR supply is not certain and well planned for.


  1. Lately, tourism might be viewed as a vulnerable and fragile sector which was worst hit by health and economic disasters such COVID-19, and as such, young people do not know whether to trust tourism as a profession, career, or business of choice for the future anymore.


  1. In this regard, the objectives of the Provincial Tourism Careers Expo are:

  • To promote tourism as a career and profession of choice;
  • To promote the tourism industry as an employer of choice;
  • To encourage interaction between the demand (employers) and supply (education institutions) side of tourism, leading to a demand led skills supply processes in tourism;
  • To coordinate and facilitate the reduction of unemployed graduates in the industry;
  • To facilitate and co-ordinate final year students’ placement for experiential and integrated learning process, leading to the attainment of a qualification;
  • To facilitate and coordinate scholarships and bursaries for deserving students doing tourism programmes;
  • To promote improved quality of teaching and learning in tourism schools and institutions of higher learning; and
  • To introduce and cultivate tourism learner-student-educator innovation and creativity.


  1. Programme Director; we are not only here for Careers Expo; we are also here to motivate our learners and students by running some intellectual-challenging competitions. Some of you will be participating in various competitions, that include Tourism Public Speaking, Baking for Hospitality, Consumer Studies Baking, Consumer Studies, and Soft Furnishings (Cushions).


  1. And the learners who will be competing in these categories are the winners of the District Competitions already held, leading up to this Provincial Tourism Careers Expo. The overall winners will represent Mpumalanga at the upcoming National Tourism Careers Expo to be held at NASREC in Gauteng Province, from 30 September until 02 October 2022. The 2022 National Tourism Career Expo draws inspiration from the outcomes of the inaugural UNWTO Global Youth Summit, which was held in Sorrento in Italy, to empower the youth so that they can actively participate in the decision-making process in the tourism sector.


  1. And those of you who participated at the District and Provincial Competitions, but did not win at those levels, will also have an opportunity to attend the 2022 National Tourism Careers Expo.


  1. This will provide our learners a valuable opportunity to interact with the different tourism players, tourism product owners, potential employers, institutions of higher learning, motivational speaker, and so forth.


  1. As I close, I wish you all the best, and please use this opportunity to empower yourself. We shall meet in the afternoon, where we will be announcing the overall winners of the four (4) categories of this year’s Provincial Tourism Careers Expo.


  1. Programme Director; we must be vigilant, as one proverb states that, and I quote: “A child without education is like a bird without wings”, unquote. Undoubtedly, tourism is, indeed, the future of our Province. Let us collectively embrace it, as it remains the goose that lays the golden for us.

  1. Let’s Grow Mpumalanga Together through tourism!



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