Big boost for black women in tourism
Big boost for black women in tourism

The Department of Tourism has, in consultation with both the public and private sectors, launched an executive development programme in a new drive to address the slow progression of black women in the tourism industry.

Speaking during the programme’s launch at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership in Midrand this week, Tourism Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa said her department intended to develop at least 100 black women in junior and middle management positions in the tourism sector over the next five years.

The pilot programme will be run over 12 months, starting with an intake of 20 black women in July 2016. After successfully completing the Executive Development Programme for Black Women, as the initiative is called, graduates will be conferred with a Level 8 qualification under the National Qualifications Framework.

Participants will also be allowed to undergo post-graduate studies, including a diploma in Tourism Management or a BA (Hon) degree in Tourism.

The launch was attended by several businesswomen and women corporate executives. The department appointed the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership on 16 February 2016 to develop and run the programme. This followed the establishment by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom of Tourism’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter to monitor and advise on the implementation of the gazetted Tourism BBBEE Code.

“In an obvious attempt to address the past socially or legally engineered socio-economic imbalances, the Tourism BBBEE Code expresses the commitment of all stakeholders in the tourism sector to the transformation of the sector and its commitment to working collectively to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of the tourism sector are extended to black South Africans,” said Deputy Minister Xasa.

“As the tourism family, we believe that we have strong industry players that will do their part in providing similar training to give women more power and freedom, confidence and know-how to support and grow the tourism sector.

"With tourism and transformation we can bring more economic benefits to our country. It is through investments in skills development and training … that we will begin to see a solid base of young, well-qualified black people and women, in particular, who will be equipped with the necessary skills to advance into management positions and be better prepared to be the business partners, business owners and entrepreneurs of the future.”

The sector represents more than 9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and creates 1.4 million job opportunities. Councillor Willie van der Schyff, Chairperson of the City of Johannesburg’s Economic Development Committee, said the City welcomed the programme as it would playing a major role in the upliftment of black women.

“I would like highlight that Joburg is up there with the best. Not only are we the most-visited city in Africa but we are also the coolest city in the Southern Hemisphere,” Councillor Van der Schyff said.