Are you obsessed with cooking shows, or are you the go-to person when out of town relatives or friends need a new spot to explore? The hospitality and tourism sector could be for you. To celebrate World Tourism Day tomorrow, we will be doing a mini-series on everything tourism related — whether it’s looking for learnerships or growing your network.

The tourism industry in South Africa has added just over 40 000 new jobs to the economy over the five-year period from 2012 to 2016, according to Statistics South Africa. The sector has surpassed the larger agriculture industry, but is still smaller than other industries such as construction and mining.

Tourism now supports about 686,000 direct jobs (4.4% of total employment) and 1,5 million direct and indirect jobs. Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s wish of doubling jobs in tourism from 700 000 to more than half a million, at this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said: “Whatever we do in tourism, regarding increased arrivals, translates into a large number of jobs as it is an employment intensive industry. It is not difficult. If we do the right things, it is achievable.”

So if you’re you’re thinking of a career in the hospitality and travel sector, the future is bright. To even consider a career in this sector, Top Universities says you need to possess five essential skills:

Empathy and emotional intelligence: This means that you have the ability to understand and manage emotions greatly, and you are also able to handle others emotions empathetically.

Teamwork: You have to be able to work well with others, and to integrate into an existing team.

Stress and time management: For careers in hospitality and tourism, you will be expected to multi-task and remain cool and collected under pressure.

Problem-solving: Whether it’s dealing with a difficult client or you’re dealing with an internal matter, the ability to think on your feet, and come up with solutions to problems is one of the most valued soft skills for careers in hospitality and tourism.

Strategy and innovation: With an ever changing, and digitized world of trends and fashions, the ability to keep looking for new opportunities and solutions, even if there are established procedures, is an attitude that is sought after in this sector.

For everything related to how to get learnerships and apprenticeships in this sector, visit the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA).

Image credit: Kostas Tsirogk