Alongside the National Tourism Visitor Information System, (NTVIS) the Excellence Training Academy – both projects of a public-private tourism partnership – kicks off at the end of January 2019.

One of the projects in a collaborative South African tourism industry initiative between key stakeholders in SA’s private travel and tourism sector, travel solutions portal Amadeus, and the National Department of Tourism (NDT), the Academy aligns with the sector’s Tourism Human Resource Development Strategy, and aims to deliver professionals with specific, added skills that tourism businesses require. In this way, the Academy aims to bridge the gap between what travel and tourism businesses need in terms of skills, and what mainstream academia offers.

Economic Development Solutions (EDS), which is the appointed administrator of the programme, has identified the first set of job opportunities for 495 young people, who will be trained in phases over the next two years. Training will include skills in areas that businesses have confirmed they are ready to employ from.

“We are in the final stages of identifying the first groups of candidates from the target regions required by business, the training content and the training service providers who will deliver the blended training courses – in person and virtually,” says Waldo Adams, Executive Director of EDS.

Svend Leirvaag, Vice President of Industry Affairs, from the Amadeus IT Group, says: “Through NTVIS and the Academy, we want to build the technology and data-driven systems that will contribute to transformation across the industry in South Africa, give small tourism businesses access to the skills and distribution channels that they do not have today and deliver professionals who are uniquely skilled to meet the needs of travellers.”

Leirvaag adds that this type of partnership – which brings together a range of organisations from the public and private sectors – will take South Africa forward. “By maximising the benefits of what the country has to offer for both international and domestic tourists and providing the framework to upskill people previously unable to participate in the economy in meaningful ways, we are bound to see a hugely positive impact among the communities where it is most needed.”