South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, and his counterparts at the G20 have committed their countries to creating more jobs in tourism, with a special focus on women and the youth.

This comes out of the annual meeting of G20 tourism ministers (known as the T20) which took place this week in Buenos Aires. 

After signing the statement, Hanekom commented: “The global focus on creating jobs in tourism fits in perfectly with South Africa's strategy to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality through inclusive tourism growth.”

The T20 statement noted that tourism accounted for 10% of the world's GDP. It committed all member countries to establishing tourism innovation centres and programmes to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. The statement also committed countries to link start-ups, main companies, investors and governments to facilitate better communication within the industry.

The T20 emphasised the role tourism plays in creating jobs within the sector and in many other linked sectors as well as supporting a greater share of employment for women and the youth, entrepreneurship and business opportunities in rural areas.

Included in the statement is the agreement that T20 countries will create a global research network to track the changing demand for skills due to the technological revolution.

Hanekom was confident South Africa would achieve its National Tourism Sector Strategy’s target of supporting one million direct jobs by 2026. "We will learn from the experience of other G20 economies, and continue working together with our partners in industry, in training institutions and in communities, to grow tourism inclusively.”