Tourism expo held

2016-09-14 06:00
DOING Setswana cultural dances with the Mmmabana Cultural group during the National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE), are Tokozile Xasa (deputy minister of Tourism) and Sam Mashinini (Free State MEC for Economic Development and Tourism) during the launch at the Botanical Gardens in Bloemfontein on Thursday (08/09). Photo: Mlungisi Louw

DOING Setswana cultural dances with the Mmmabana Cultural group during the National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE), are Tokozile Xasa (deputy minister of Tourism) and Sam Mashinini (Free State MEC for Economic Development and Tourism) during the launch at the Botanical Gardens in Bloemfontein on Thursday (08/09). Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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THE National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE), now in its eight year of existence, will see approximately 9 000 learners from across the country flock to Bloemfontein.

Themed Tourism alive with Opportunities, the initiative aims at raising awareness about the Career Expo set to be held in October.

Launching the programme at the Botanical Gardens in Bloemfontein on Thursday (08/09), deputy minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, said the tourism sector has become one of the leading contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“There has never been a more exciting time to be in the tourism and hospitality space. A number of exciting developments are on the horizon as far as the tourism industry is concerned,” she said.

Xasa revealed the ministry was also revising its departmental strategic plan for a renewed approach in tourism service delivery to achieve sustainable growth and development.

She said the aim was to produce sharper, transformative legal instruments for the industry.

Launched in 2008 as an annual event that seeks to “position tourism as a valued and vibrant career choice”, the NTCE essentially targets gr. 9 to gr. 12 learners, tourism businesses, government institutions, tourism students, graduates Z employed and unemployed, as well as educators.

The Free State NTCE event is also riding on a wave of the Tourism Month festivities hosted by the province while it also contributes to the promotion of tourism as a career and a profession.

Hosted for the second time in the Free State, the expo will again see South Africans interact with industry players as potential employees while companies also exhibit their products.

An improved Hospitality Corner led by the Hilton Hotel Worldwide Group is expected this year with vibrant chefs and mixology corners.

Provinces have also promised to bring increased learner numbers while the learners will face each other at the expo in competitions.

Xasa said it was also encouraging to hear that educators viewed the NTCE learner competitions in a very serious light as far as development was concerned.

Learners would not be so keen to attend if these competitions were to be discontinued.

The Free State MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Sam Mashi-nini, said tourism is fast becoming a career of choice. It is difficult, however, to gain entry because it requires funding and skills.

Mashinini added that the expo will encourage young people to take up abundant entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in the tourism industry.

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