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Tourism Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa says her department has various programmes aimed at capacitating young people to be absorbed into the hospitality industry.

These, according to the Deputy Minister, include food safety, tourism buddies, chefs and sommeliers.

Speaking at the 6th Edition Hotelier Summit Africa, Deputy Minister Xasa said: “Our investment in skills development and training is essential to create a solid base of young, well qualified black people who will be equipped with the necessary skills to both advance into management positions and to be better prepared to be the business owners and entrepreneurs of the future”.

Deputy Minister Xasa said as government, they are encouraging increased investment in the tourism arena, where there is huge scope for growth.

“From the government side, tourism is one of six core pillars of economic growth and key part of the National Development Plan, which captures our vision for 2030 to reduce poverty and inequality.

“We are looking at a partnership approach that recognises that this is a creative industry that should not be stunted through government regulation,” she said.

The Deputy Minister said government expects the industry partnerships to help transform the economy by creating jobs, alleviating poverty and reducing inequalities.

“We participate in a number of international tradeshows which gives us the platform to sell our destination and engage in Joint Marketing Agreements. Tourists are attracted to destinations by experiences and offerings,” the Deputy Minister said.

She said visitors’ experience impacts on the destination’s reputation and that the experience is a factor of quality in both offerings and services.

“As the gateway to Africa, we are committed to boosting this sector as a growth catalyst both economically and socially. We will continue the enhancement of regional tourism integration in our goal to forward the African agenda,” the Deputy Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za

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