17 October 2007
A skills audit by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism finds that the local tourism industry will require about 80 000 additional workers in the three years ahead of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The audit indicates that over the next three years, the industry will require about 24 100 cooks and chefs, 23 500 waiters and waitresses, 15 000 cleaners, 7 800 cashiers and 8 000 managerial staff.
Addressing the Tourism and Hospitality Colloquium in Johannesburg this week, University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) School of Tourism and Hospitality director Daneel van Lill said that a key challenge at present was that demand for staff far outstrips supply.
With over 180 high-level local and foreign academics and business leaders in attendance, the conference served as a platform to debate issues such as global tourism and hospitality trends, the impact of tourism development, opportunities for capital investment, leadership and entrepreneurship, manpower requirements within the industry and major sporting events, such as the World Cup.
Van Lill said the local hospitality industry was set to undergo a major revamp, with emphasis being placed on quality training, to ensure that the country is sufficiently prepared with qualified people, systems and resources for 2010 and beyond.
“These challenges are common knowledge in the hospitality industry, but the Colloquium presented an opportunity for industry leaders to explore ways of overcoming this challenge,” he said.
UJ Faculty of Management executive dean John Liuz added that with all of the hotel schools in South Africa represented at the conference, it was an ideal opportunity for a concerted academic programme of action to promote and enhance the standing and credibility of training institutions.
“We are currently broadening our international links and are fortunate to have had representation from three leading international universities, namely Pennsylvania State University, College of the Bahamas and New York University,” Luiz said.
An encouraging development for South African hotel schools has been the growing support from industry leaders and significant investment by business.
As an example, Luiz pointed out to the UJ’s School of Tourism and Hospitality, which has received significant financial support institutions like Nedbank and businesspeople like Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman of the United States-based Waterford Group.
South Africa’s tourism industry currently contributed about 8.2% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to about R79-billion, with the aim of increasing sector contribution to 12% of GDP by the time the World Cup comes.
South African Tourism states that the country deals with approximately 650 000 foreign travellers on a monthly basis, while it expects about 450 000 foreign travellers in the space of six weeks during the World Cup.