Hosted by the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA); the career expo aimed to reintroduce Tourism and Hospitality as a future employer as well as a career of choice for young people in the Free State.
"I sincerely hope this expo will help us draw wealth of knowledge and lesson that will shape our practices and thoughts as a collective in this industry. It is meant to facilitate interaction between the above groups of people so that information and knowledge can be shared on available education and training opportunities and showcase available tourism professional opportunities and their worth in the country," said Prof Alfred Ngowi, CUT acting vice-chancellor and principal.
62 exhibitors from tourism sub-sectors such as hospitality, marketing, events management, transport, tourism academia, and tourism development represented the industry. The expo also included a sterling line-up of about 25 industry experts who shared their expertise.
"I do tourism, we do tourism! Tourism is a vibrant and exciting industry, and it needs lots of young people as you still have the energy, and new, fresh ideas. And it is up to us to hand the baton over to you and entrust the future of this industry to you as young people. And with my focus being on domestic tourism, I am a strong believer in local is lekker’," said Nonkululeko Mthembu, National Department of Tourism.
"We decided to do this expo realising that not all learners with potential interest in the tourism and hospitality industry are able to make it to the annual national tourism careers expo; we then decided to have our own as the province. The tourism sector and the whole tourism ecosystem were hit hard by the hard lockdowns in 2020, but as soon as the restrictions were relaxed in 2021 moving into 2022, there has been a rapid recovery in this sector. I hope that as learners engage with the exhibitors that they can gain information that will assist them in making career choices within the broader tourism eco-system and that this will assist them to start planning for their future,” said Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ, Destea Head of the Department (HoD).
The expo offered provincial tourism and hospitality organisations the opportunity to promote their companies and afford tourism learners exposure to the potential employment and business opportunity in the sector.
1. CUT Tourism Management Alumni, Dithebe Moyeng and David Mphosha, exhibiting their company Funbase Tours.
2. Learners were exposed to a vast number of companies and organisations in the tourism eco-system.