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World’s tourism leaders agree to grow jobs and skills
World’s tourism leaders agree to grow jobs and skills

​South Africa today joined global tourism leaders in adopting a declaration to create more jobs and strengthen skills development in the tourism sector.

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom attended the meeting of T20 countries in Antalya, Turkey, where the declaration was adopted unanimously. The T20 group represents the tourism ministers from G20 countries, which include some of the world’s strongest economies.

“This declaration will consolidate our efforts to sustain employment and improve training in tourism,” said Minister Hanekom.

“I am particularly pleased that it refers specifically to measures to enhance gender equality, to promote the value of small enterprises, and to create more jobs for the youth in the tourism sector,” said Minister Hanekom.

“This is in line with the Department of Tourism’s strategies to address these key challenges in our country.”   

The Antalya Declaration noted that tourism accounts for about 10% of the world’s GDP, it is one of the fastest growing and most resilient economic activities, and plays a major role in international trade.  Forecasts indicate that global tourism is expected to grow further, with international tourist arrivals reaching 1.8 billion in the next 15 years.

The declaration acknowledged that tourism supports robust and inclusive growth and creates jobs within the sector and in the diverse value chain, which includes agriculture, construction, handicrafts, financial services and communication technology. Tourism is estimated to account for one in 11 jobs in the world.

The T20 members agreed to enhance research on tourism employment and to identify skills needed in the sector. This will allow countries to develop policies that promote decent jobs, entrepreneurship, gender equality and employment for the youth.

The declaration commits the T20 countries to promote stronger links between their private sectors, public sectors and education institutions to address the gap between training needs and market requirements. It also encourages increased investment in education and training in tourism.

A mechanism will be established to identify and exchange best practices in tourism, in coordination with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the International Labour Organisation. The declaration also opens the way for exchange programmes between developing countries and members of the G20 to promote education for women and gender empowerment through tourism.

The declaration aims to improve links between tourism and trade policies to enhance the access of small and medium enterprises to international markets and to integrate them into the global economy. It will also promote the development of green jobs in tourism.

Minister Hanekom said that the Department of Tourism had already started to implement some of the strategies detailed in the declaration.

“For example, we are conducting a study to establish the needs of small enterprises, which will help us to develop supportive programmes that match their needs,” said Minister Hanekom.

“Our overall skills audit is taking place in consultation with the private sector, and links between the private and public sector are getting stronger. We are also determined to make the sector more environmentally sustainable and to create more green jobs. A project within our Tourism Incentives Program deals specifically with retrofitting establishments with renewable energy.

“Signing the declaration has reaffirmed that we are on the right track in South Africa, and we will now accelerate our efforts to achieve the aims of the declaration which the 20 countries have agreed to,” said Minister Hanekom.


Mr Praveen Naidoo
Media Liaison Officer to the Minister
National Department of Tourism
Telephone: +27 (0) 12 444 6607
Cell: +27 (0) 81 475 1056