Tourism Indaba 2013 - celebrating South Africa’s success
Representing the South African Chefs Association’s National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP), GM of SACA Graham Donet and NYCTP Project Manager Thomas Overbeck attended the 2013 South African Tourism Indaba. An inspiring conference that encapsulated South Africa’s ever-changing hospitality industry, here are some highlights from the speech delivered by the Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
Beginning on a firmly positive note, the slogan of this year’s Indaba was "Celebrate success. Modernise Indaba", a message reiterated by Minister Van Schalkwyk in his welcome speech.
“This is who we are…we are South Africa! Inspired and inspiring, diverse and united, we gather here today in this great province of KwaZulu-Natal – this legendary kingdom of dreams and opportunities. We gather here between the ocean and the mountains, between our heritage and our tomorrow, to celebrate the power and the prospects of an industry that showcases our nation to the world. Welcome to the 2013 Tourism Indaba,” said Minister Van Schalkwyk.
The National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP), a unique partnership between SACA and the National Department of Tourism’s Expanded Public Works Programme, is one such inspiring and dynamic project that is empowering the youth of today and strengthening the hospitality industry of tomorrow.
The programme was initiated in 2011, and continues to be successful in giving young, unemployed people the skills and experience necessary to thrive in our hospitality industry. Not only is NYCTP helping people attain jobs, it is also answering a critical need for skilled chefs in the tourism and hospitality industry, a sector which grew substantially in 2012.
Illustrating this growth, Minister Van Schalkwyk said: “We welcomed approximately 9,2 million tourists to our shores last year. Our overall international tourist arrivals growth in 2012 was 10,2%. This was against an average global industry growth of 4%. We certainly performed remarkably. We are growing into a most sought-after tourist destination, with a vast array of unique experiences on offer.”
With successful tourism comes the need for top-quality hospitality, restaurants and catering, and the South African Chefs Association is proud to manage a programme that is providing a skilled workforce of young chefs to help maintain these standards.
Minister Van Schalkwyk announced that there is an expansion plan for the Tourism Indaba in the future, as well as a strategy for an even wider South African Tourism reach; strengthening South Africa as one of the most sought-after tourism destinations.
“South African Tourism (SAT) will roll out a global hub strategy created to effectively deliver the destination marketing message, with a wider reach than ever before. To further bolster growth, we have identified core markets, investment markets and tactical markets across regional Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia, as well as Europe. We understand that when we enter a market, we have to work hard to achieve success, and that it is always a partnership. That is why, in the coming year, SAT will open fully-fledged offices in Brazil, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria, whilst also expanding its marketing presence and partnerships with the trade in South Korea, Russia, Scandinavia, Shanghaiin China, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania.”
Minister Van Schalkwyk also emphasised that domestic tourism is a key component of SAT’s development plan: “Increasing domestic tourism’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and promoting a culture of travel among South Africans are key objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy,” he said.
The Minister concluded his speech by saying: “I look forward to continue taking the hands of all our partners as we celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy and 20 years of tourism, and as we put our heads together to lay the foundation for another 20 years of new opportunities and fulfilling experiences.”
“It was Mark Twain who said: ‘Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover’,” he concluded.
It is with these encouraging words that the South African Chefs Association strives to continue its work to improve and develop South Africa’s culinary industry. And it’s these words that we hope will be etched in the hearts and minds of our NYCTP graduates as they begin their journey in South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Click here to view atricles recorded in the South African press on the National Youth Chefs Training programme