Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, The South Africa Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, proudly launched the Executive Development Program at the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership today.
As outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP), socio-economic transformation policies and programs are aimed at steering the economy on an inclusive growth path. Tourism is one of the key economic pillars and contributes significantly to the GDP and job creation.
The launch of this program aims to redress the skewed socio-economic landscape of the tourism industry with the objective to capacitate black women managers within the tourism sector. The majority of employees in the tourism sector are women, yet many of these women are still relegated to the kitchens, cleaning departments, and front desks of many of the tourism establishments. There are few women in management and executive positions of tourism sector businesses.
The government has, since 1994, embarked upon a comprehensive program to provide a legislative framework for the transformation of the economy and laying the foundation for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). The tourism sector became the first to have its Sector B-BBEE Codes published ahead of other industries in May 2009.
In 2011, the National Department of Tourism (NDT) conducted an independent study to assess the state of transformation in the tourism sector. The study found, inter alia, a low percentage of women at board and executive management levels of large enterprises in the tourism sector. For example, whereas all enterprises across all bands (small or large) were required to achieve 50% of black board members, executive directors, and senior top management, only 12% of large enterprises had achieved the 50% target, while 4% had achieved the 25% target for black female directorship. The low percentage was attributed mainly to the unavailability of black women managers in the sector with the required qualifications, skills profile, and experience for promotion to the executive management and board positions.
The Tourism B-BBEE Charter Council was established to monitor and advise on the implementation of the gazetted code for B-BBEE. From 2014 to 2015, the Council embarked on a process to develop the draft Amended Tourism B-BBEE Sector. On November 20, 2015, the Amended Tourism B-BBEE Sector Code in terms of Section 9 (1) of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Act No. 46 of 2013 was gazetted. This made tourism the first sector in the economy of South Africa to develop and align a B-BBEE Sector Code. The amended Code took into account comments and inputs received from tourism stakeholders during the public commentary period.
In essence, the amended Code is meant to tackle the two main challenges in the tourism sector – the need to become more globally competitive and the need to include black people in the Tourism Sector. In an effort to address the past socio-economic imbalances, the Tourism B-BBEE Code expresses the commitment of all stakeholders in the Tourism Sector to the transformation of the sector and its commitment to working collectively to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of the tourism sector are extended to Black South Africans as well.
To address slow progression of black women in the tourism sector, the Council recommended that the Department should partner with a distinguished South African business school to provide an Executive Development Program (EDP) for black women managers in the tourism sector. The program is aimed at building strong business skills and leadership capabilities among women in the tourism sector to lead key parts of tourism businesses and form a pool of future top leadership, entrepreneurs, and industrialists in the sector. The program will provide in-depth training at the core of running a successful tourism business.
On February 16, 2016, the Department appointed the University of South Africa (UNISA) Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) to develop and run a course on the Executive Development Program (EDP) for black women managers in the tourism sector. The program will cover among others, modules such as strategic financial management, global business environment, managing organizational performance, contemporary leadership, advanced destination and strategic marketing, advanced strategic tourism management, and the executive tourism project.
The pilot for the program will run for a period of 12 months starting with an intake of 20 black women in July 2016. The Department is envisaged to train close to 100 black women managers over a five-year period. Tuition fee and other study materials for the EDP will be fully covered by the Department.
This program is targeted at black female employees who are at junior or middle management levels. Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be conferred with a National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 8 qualification. Participants will be allowed to proceed to further post graduate studies such as the Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism Management, or a Bachelor (Honors) degree in the field of tourism or entry into a cognate Bachelor’s degree to allow for further specialization in this field.
The tourism fraternity believes it has strong industry players that will also do their part in providing similar training to give women more power and freedom, confidence, and know-how to support and grow the tourism sector.
Tourism is the new gold which transcends the provincial and communal boundaries. Every community offers a unique tourism experience. Figures in the previous year indicated that the sector represents more than 9% of the country’s gross domestic product and an estimated 1.4 million job opportunities. Both tourism and transformation are the key priorities of government. With tourism and transformation more economic benefits may be brought to our country.
The Deputy Minister said: “It is through investments in skills development and training by the private sector and government alike that we will begin to see a solid base of young, well-qualified black people, and women in particular who will be equipped with the necessary skills to both advance into management positions, and to be better prepared to be the business partners, business owners, and entrepreneurs of the future.”