Instilling the need to become entrepreneurs amongst South African students, especially at tertiary institutions, was the key aim of the Inaugural SMARTSTART Tourism lecture held at the Ritson Campus Hotel School this week.
Durban University of Technology (first, second and third-year) Tourism Management students were given advice and practical know-how from various speakers of the tourism and business industry about finding a sustainable approach to tourism development in South Africa.
According to the SMARTSTART campaign which began in 2010, it highlights entrepreneurship activity amongst South African youth as being lower in comparison to other developing countries. It is also said that the tourism industry has shown considerable growth and continues to do so and the youth needed to look at self-made opportunities rather than working in the industry to become more marketable and sustainable in the 21st century.
One of the guest speakers, CATHSSETA’s (Culture Arts Tourism Hospitality Sport Sector Education and Training Authority’s) Lebohang Mpye, added that her role at CATHSSETA is to provide bursaries to students in the field of tourism but the objective was for the students to be employable and be able to contribute to the tourism sector.
“The Tourism and Travel sector is extremely labour intensive and is a major source of employment, requiring various degrees of skill and provides women, youth and migrant employees with relatively easy access into the workforce. A career in tourism and travel is demanding and requires people with good communication and listening skills, dedication to quality and good service, team player, good organisational skills, attention to detail and a preparedness to work under pressure. Competitiveness and productivity in the industry depend on skill levels, professionalism, commitment, passion, loyalty and soft skills of workers,” she said.
Other guest speakers included Tourism B-BBEE Charter Council, Shonisani Makhari, DUT’s tourism lecturer Mrs Mabuso and SANPARKS, Kevin Moore. Each speaker encouraged the students to look to their communities for ideas and to our country and find avenues less explored in terms of tourism.
Third-year-Tourism Management student, Kerry Lawrence, was delighted with the lecture workshop and found it very informative. “It gave us a lot of knowledge about the opportunities which I do actually have and it also inspired me and motivated me to think along the lines of perhaps becoming my own boss and going the entrepreneurial way in time to come, “ she said.
The general consensus from the workshop lecture, going forward, was to also look at establishing mentorship programmes with stakeholders, youth entrepreneurship awards and competitions as well as addressing factors that hamper new entrants and growth of existing entrepreneurs.
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: DUT Tourism Management students play a key role in the tourism sector.