After a four-year-long process, the Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association has finally been granted approval to conduct tourism industry-related training courses. The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (Cath-Seta) has given written accreditation for two PMB Tourism learning programmes: General Travel and Accommodation Services.PMB Tourism director Dumisani Mhlongo said after a long four-year process, the news had been received with great excitement. “When I first applied for the accreditation about four years ago Cath-Seta indicated that a lot of requirements were needed, including our assessment policies, quality management system, the content of the programmes and the CVs for assessors and moderators. Thereafter we had to wait for Cath-Seta to assess our submission and if unhappy about certain things, send it back. So it’s been quite a lengthy process,” said Mhlongo.He said he was especially excited about the programmes’ Gidla Express module. “Gidla is township colloquial for sleep-over and our Gidla Express programme encourages locals to open up their homes for tourists to get the raw local experience. Therefore the module will equip these people with the necessary skills to deal with tourists in their homes,” said Mhlongo. He said the new accredited courses were part of PMB Tourism’s aim to develop and transform the tourism sector. “Operating within a space of transformation we identified a skills gap within the industry. “We are excited that we can now be able to fill this gap with a national qualification equivalent.”Although PMB Tourism would not be providing jobs for their graduates, there would be opportunities for learnership programmes with a stipend.Mhlongo said a further announcement would be made on enrolment dates for the courses, once planning and administration had been completed. Workshops on the programmes would start soon, he said.