TOURISM has the potential to create a million jobs in Zambia because it is a money spinning industry globally, says permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Arts Stephen Mwansa.
Speaking at the graduation of seven youths under the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) at Radisson Blu Hotel recently, Mr. Mwansa said the sector currently employed 300,000 people and was a great contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
He applauded the proactive efforts of Radison Blu and the SOS Children’s Village which had created employment for the youth under the YCI programme. “Government appreciates your efforts in employment creation. I challenge other hotels to emulate your initiatives especially that the youths you have accorded employment are under-privileged and from poor backgrounds,” said Mr. Mwansa.
He cautioned the youths to take the opportunity seriously and aim for greater achievements, adding that the hospitality industry is a versatile sector. He also advised them to work hard as challenges await them in the hospitality industry and called on them to be focused and result-oriented.
“Challenges are part of one’s career. Use them to make improvements in your daily lives and keep going forward because the sky is no longer the limit,” said Mr. Mwansa.
Speaking at the same event, SOS Children’s Village national director Joseph Munsanje said his organization’s Vision 2030 which focuses on youth training in partnership with Radisson Blu, aims to build character and impart lifesaving skills in the youth.
Mr. Munsanje said the YCI programme will go a long way in sustaining national development through employment creation.
“This is not the end of the road for you. Keep on improving your academic and professional careers so that one day you can head one of Radisson Blu hotels,” said Mr Munsanje.
And YCI global team leader Scott Robinson congratulated the seven graduates on their achievement which he said demonstrated their willingness to achieve greater things in life.
Mr. Robinson said the seven joined the over 3, 000 youths that had undergone training in the past 20 years in 19 countries across the world.
“The YCI initiative works in partnership with 15 hotels worldwide including Radisson Blu. Therefore you have an exciting future ahead of you and you can become any person you want to be in the hospitality industry or any other field of your choice,” said Mr. Robinson.
And Radisson Blu general manager Marius Wolmarans echoed Mr Robinson’s sentiments, adding that a lot of obstacles await the graduates but encouraged them to take the challenges head on.
The graduates underwent 24 weeks training in marketing, house- keeping, cooking and other hospitality skills under the supervision of the Radisson Blu and SOS Children’s Village with support from the International Tourism Partnership and Business in the Community.