The 2017 edition of the annual National Tourism Career Expo (NTCE) has been described as a melting pot where education and training stakeholders meet to create opportunities for learners.
Speaking at the official opening of the 2017 NTCE at the Sand du Plessis Theatre in Bloemfontein earlier today (28 September), the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe, said the biggest tourism education and training event in the country is sure to assist learners in choosing a career in this vibrant and ever-growing sector of the economy.
“The NTCE 2017 is really going to assume its true character of being a “melting pot” where all tourism education and training stakeholders meet, engage and interact on issues of demand and supply of skills in the sector. It is expected to live up to its slogan that says; ‘NTCE is not just a paper grabbing platform, but an interactive exercise’. It is not like any other careers expo as it brings all elements of Tourism Human Resources Development on board,” Thabethe told delegates.
The deputy minister also revealed that this year’s edition of the expo has grown from previous editions with more participation from learners from across the country as well as more exhibitors taking part as compared to those of last year.
“I am also told that other provinces are here with increased numbers of learners this year. They are upbeat and ready to square up in the competitions that learners will face each other on at the NTCE 2017. I am also encouraged to hear that educators view the NTCE learner competitions in a very serious light for learners, such that they said it would be difficult to attend if these competitions were to be discontinued. This tells of the developmental impact the NTCE competitions have on learners.
“The Youth Business Zone (YBZ) is improved this year than last year in terms of quality of participants and their contributions with business ideas,” she said.
According to Thabethe, the Free State, which is hosting its final edition of the expo after having hosted the previous two, should be able to feel the benefits cascading down the supply chain, with accommodation, catering, transport and other such service providers being able to experience increased business.
Speaking at the same function, Free State Department of Economic, Small business development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) Head of Department (HOD), Gadija Brown, applauded partnerships with different entities such as the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), the Hilton Worldwide Group, the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority FSGLTA), among others, that have ensured that the career expo would be the success that it is.
She reiterated the fact the expo remains an effective platform for learners to source information about careers in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Since its inception in 2009, the NTCE has been hosted by two other provinces, KwaZulu Natal and North West before Free State took the turn to host in 2015. This year’s expo will run until 30 September and is expected to keep the learners occupied with competitions and attractive prizes to be won.
A total of 122 exhibitors are taking part while 9 000 learners are expected to attend the three-day expo.
The 2017 NTCE was kicked off by a cocktail party on Wednesday evening at the awe-inspiring Revolving Restaurant on the apex of O.R. Tambo building.