Some 28 000 tourism industry employees could benefit from the newly launched Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet)-Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (Theta) tourism programme. The programme targets the improvement of skills, especially for the unemployed and those wishing to work in the tourism sector.
Speaking at the launch of the programme at the Kruger National Park on July 17, deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, "South Africa simply cannot afford these high levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty and this is a main reason why government endorses this initiative of the Abet- Theta programme, in particular and especially if we can show a direct link between skills and a job - where the industry drives training that should be possible and it is a must."
The tourism industry is seen as South Africa's biggest contributor to the economy, comprising an estimated 8.1 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and accounts for about 940 000 direct and indirect jobs. The potential of tourism's contribution to job creation and the country's GDP is estimated to stand at 712 000 jobs in 2015 and 870 000 indirect jobs. Mlambo-Ngcuka said tourism skills was placed among the nation's scarce skill categories and added that the programme will also address the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).