The tourism industry plays a critical role in the South African economy, and its contribution in terms of spending, employment and impact on the gross domestic product (GDP) cannot be underestimated. However, passionate travel ambassadors for the country are sadly in short supply.
Although available careers for both local and international students have been considerably impacted by a rapidly changing world influenced by the advent of the digital age, the role of qualified people within the tourism industry is as important as it has always been (and is unlikely to change any time soon).
Investing in certified tour guides
Martin Wiest, CEO of Tourvest Destination Management, says: “There has been a definite year on year decrease in the amount of qualified tour guides in the field. Existing guides are getting older and retiring, and there are insufficient people from younger generations to take up the baton.”
In an effort to bridge this gap, and having partnered with South Africa’s top training providers, the Tourvest Destination Management Guide Academy offers students the chance to qualify as a National Culture Tour Guide. The professional training facility combines prescribed theory with a practical component that is directly linked to real-world operations. Students also have the unique opportunity to travel with expert Tourvest Destination Management guides, accessing on-the-job training and mentoring while completing the curriculum.
Wiest further advocates the Tourvest Destination Management Guide Academy for future travel consultants; “The skills guides learn during their training are skills that are often lacking in consultants. Because guides get hands-on training, and thus have first-hand experience of our country, they are more adept at building special itineraries for guests.”
Investing in the youth of South Africa
The Tourvest Destination Management Learnership Programme sees learners from disadvantaged backgrounds receive their NQF level-5 certificates from Tourvest Destination Management, following the completion of a course in general travel and tourism through Tourvest Destination Management’s learnership programme. A high percentage of the programme graduates go on to full time employment within the Tourvest Integrated Tourism Services fold.
Wiest says: “The learnership programme is a sound contributor to broad-based empowerment in that we are able to transfer skills and provide career opportunities to members of impoverished communities. The programme gives the Tourvest Group a hot-house in which to develop and retain its own talent in an industry where quality consultants are scarce. We see the value of investing in these programmes and are motivated to continue presenting them. This programme creates change and gives everybody in South Africa a fair chance of becoming a part of the tourism industry. ”