School for hospitality ‘high-flyers’

1 September 2005

South Africa’s new School of Tourism and Hospitality, housed in a R47-million custom-built, state-of-the-art facility, aims to train world-class restaurateurs and hospitality “high-flyers” for the country’s burgeoning tourism industry.

The new school, situated on the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park Campus, boasts ultra-modern kitchens, lecture rooms with hi-tech facilities, computer laboratories and a 150-seater auditorium.

The school will combine practical training with a strong commercial component, including two public restaurants, a bar and a wine cellar.

The building will also house the SA Chefs Association, the SA Culinary Institute and the Gauteng branch of the Cape Wine Academy.

Tourism is a priority sector for South Africa, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said at the launch of the school on Tuesday.

“There needs to be a balance between high quality service, customer care and the attitude of those who serve you, together with the facilities the establishment offers, in order create an unforgettable experience for the tourist,” she said.

Kerzner International chairman Sol Kerzner said the school was committed to the highest standards of training, and would ensure that students came away with the ability to make people feel really welcome.

Kerzner and his company donated R20-million towards construction of the school, and will be helping the school to link up with the New York School of Hospitality Management and other international institutions in order to benchmark itself against the best hospitality education in the world.

“We’re putting our money where our mouths are to help build tourism and hospitality in South Africa”, Kerzner told the Saturday Star. He added, however, that this was no “sentimental gesture”, with a tourism industry “set to burgeon in South Africa”.

“I have always been a great believer in tourism potential, and I am confident that this new initiative will elevate the Hotel School to university status and place it on a par with other international hotel schools.”

SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews