#Youth4Tourism calls on corporate SA to transform the tourism industry
This game-changing initiative will harness the talent of the country's young people to drive economic growth through digital content creation
With the World Travel and Tourism Council projecting significant growth in Africa's travel and tourism sector, the #Youth4Tourism initiative comes at a crucial time.
Launched by the Youth Employment Service (YES) and Sanlam, it has the potential to be a game-changer for SA's tourism industry. By creating over 1,000 jobs for youth in its first phase, and supporting SMEs across the tourism value chain, this initiative aims to harness the potential and talent of the country's young people to drive economic growth.
The tourism sector, according to Stats SA, is larger than both manufacturing and agriculture, making it a key player in growing the domestic economy. Engaging young people to promote and support tourist attractions through digital content creation, along with upskilling them in the gig economy, can lead to the birth of microentrepreneurs who become the backbone of the economy.
However, there is the sobering reality of SA's unemployment rate and economic transformation, which cannot be understated. Devastatingly, close to 250,000 young people lost their jobs in the first quarter of this year, bringing the number of unemployed youth to a staggering 4.9-million.
While the #Youth4Tourism initiative represents a collaborative effort to empower young people and is a beacon of hope for SA in the face of these alarming figures, the country still faces significant barriers to youth employment such as limited access to quality education, training, opportunities and the legacy of inequality, leaving many ill-equipped to compete in the rapidly changing job market.
Addressing these obstacles requires a concerted effort from corporate SA. As Paul Hanratty, CEO of the Sanlam Group, pointed out after the release of this year’s Sanlam Transformation Gauge Report, true economic transformation is not solely determined by the numbers on a BBBEE scorecard. It is about the practical steps we take to build a more inclusive and equitable society. Let us not be discouraged by slow progress; instead, let it be a catalyst for introspection and radical change.
The key to genuine transformation lies in going beyond compliance and scorecards. We need to invest in skill development, empower our youth, boost our tourism sector and actively work towards creating equal opportunities for all
The key to genuine transformation lies in going beyond compliance and scorecards. We need to invest in skill development, empower our youth, boost our tourism sector and actively work towards creating equal opportunities for all. It is not a task that can be accomplished overnight, or one that can be accomplished alone, but with strong willingness, commitment and the dedication of corporates, we can set a benchmark for transformation and job creation and inspire others to follow suit.
By harnessing the potential of our youth in the tourism industry and revaluating our strategies for economic transformation, we can spark a wave of change that propels SA towards a more secure and prosperous future. The #Youth4Tourism initiative presents a unique opportunity to engage the private sector in this transformative journey, creating a win-win situation for both the youth and the nation.
Corporates can play a vital role in supporting the #Youth4Tourism initiative by actively engaging in a number of ways such as funding jobs for youths, either through innovative placement partners identified by YES or as part of their BBBEE or social impact initiatives. Businesses can also donate hardware and equipment or identify events, conferences and content creation opportunities for Youth4Tourism candidates.
The call to action is clear: businesses across sectors must join the movement to create opportunities for the youth. It’s time for corporate SA to take the lead, go beyond the numbers and embody the vision of empowering all Africans to live with confidence. By acting now and acting together, we can make the dream of a prosperous and confident society a reality. Let us be the change we want to see.
For more information on the Youth4Tourism initiative, and how corporates can get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• About the author: Ray-Ann Sedres is Sanlam's chief transformation officer.
Read the full Sanlam Transformation Gauge report
The annual Sanlam Transformation Gauge, presented in partnership with the Sunday Times Business Times, is the only consolidated, sector-focused research report to take a holistic measurement of economic transformation in SA, accounting for all elements of BBBEE.
Use the arrows to page through the 2023 edition of the report below (zoom in or go full screen for ease of reading) or download it.
The findings from this year's report were unpacked at the recent Sanlam Transformation Gauge Conference: click here to watch a recording of this event.
This article was sponsored by Sanlam.