#Youth4Tourism to turbocharge tourism industry and SMEs

YES CEO Ravi Naidoo. Photo: Supplied

YES CEO Ravi Naidoo. Photo: Supplied

Published Jun 29, 2023


South Africa’s tourism industry has the potential to boost the country’s economy and create significant employment opportunities. An ambitious new private sector initiative launched by the Youth Employment Service (YES) and financial services group, Sanlam, is expected to be a game-changer for this critical sector.

The first phase of the project will see youth across South Africa working to promote and support tourist attractions nationally, through showcasing their home towns and surrounds and, through their creative outputs, guiding both local and international tourists across the country.

YES CEO Ravi Naidoo said, “South Africa’s tourism sector is rebounding rapidly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and is a major driving engine to create youth jobs and drive economic growth. Through this initiative, we hope to add further momentum to the sector.”

Youth4Tourism aims to bring together a range of businesses to help unlock this opportunity through the creation of more than 1000 youth jobs in phase one, supporting thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism value chain across South Africa.

YES said in a statement this week it had already placed the first 650 youth in the Youth4Tourism initiative in implementation partners across six provinces. (For further information e-mail [email protected])

“These youth will be developing skills in content creation and ecotourism,” said Naidoo.

Paul Hanratty, the CEO of Sanlam, said, “Close to 250000 young people lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2023, which brings the total number of unemployed youth to 4.9 million … Through this programme, we want to galvanise the private sector to sponsor the placement of talented young people in the tourism sector.

“At the same time, we’re focusing on up-skilling young people in the gig economy, specifically enhancing their skill capabilities in driving tourism. By doing so, we aim to create micro-entrepreneurs. SMMEs are the backbone of our economy and empowering our youth to start viable ventures is critical for the future health of our nation.”