In a move that promises to turbo-charge South Africa’s tourism industry, the Youth Employment Service (YES) and financial services giant, Sanlam, have launched an ambitious initiative known as Youth4Tourism. This initiative is set to create over 1,000 jobs for the youth in its first phase, supporting thousands of SMEs in the tourism value chain across the nation.
A Tech-Driven Approach to Boosting Tourism
The Youth4Tourism initiative is a testament to the power of technology in transforming industries. The first phase of the project will see young South Africans put to work to promote and support tourist attractions nationally. They will be showcasing their hometowns and surrounds, and through their creative outputs, guiding both local and international tourists across the country.
This tech-driven approach is particularly relevant in today’s digital age, where content creation and digital marketing play a crucial role in promoting tourism. The youth involved in the initiative will be developing skills in these areas, becoming microentrepreneurs in their own right.
A Financial Lifeline for the Youth
The initiative comes at a critical time for South Africa. According to Sanlam’s CEO, Paul Hanratty, close to 250,000 young people lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2023, bringing the total number of unemployed youth to 4.9 million.
The Youth4Tourism initiative aims to address this issue head-on. By galvanizing the private sector to sponsor the placement of talented young people in the tourism sector, the initiative hopes to change the narrative for the country’s youth.
A Call to Action for Corporates
Sanlam and YES are calling on other corporates to join them in this initiative. Companies can get involved in several ways, including funding youth jobs through innovative placement partners identified by YES, identifying events and content creation opportunities for these talented young South Africans, or contributing hardware like photography and videography equipment for a Section 18A tax break.
A Bright Future for South Africa’s Tourism Industry
The potential impact of the Youth4Tourism initiative is significant. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Africa’s travel and tourism sector is expected to create almost 14 million new jobs over the next decade, with growth of 6.8% annually between 2022 – 2032.
With the Youth4Tourism initiative, South Africa is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth. By harnessing the power of technology and the creativity of its youth, the country is taking a major step forward in boosting its tourism industry and creating much-needed employment opportunities.
In the words of YES CEO, Ravi Naidoo, “It’s time to bring together corporate South Africa like never before to tell our tourism story to the world. By sharing our stories with the world through the honing of relevant digital skills, we can spark a wave of tourism that can transform the entire economy and create thousands of jobs.”