With tourism numbers continuing to increase year on year, and new hotels and restaurants opening their doors not just in South Africa but all over the continent, all indications are that the industry’s positive trajectory will continue well into the future, says Erika Theron, Academic Dean at The Private Hotel School, an ADvTECH Tertiary institution based in Stellenbosch.

“All studies and forecasts also underscore the continued creation of jobs in this sector, which is good news for those who are considering this exciting field,” she says.

The hospitality industry is one in which increased automation is not a risk to the futures of these careers as customer experience and satisfaction are indisputably dependent on the human factor.  Automation may help improve efficiency of service, but it cannot take over the creation of the experience which is what consumers in this sector are looking for.  However, along with the great prospects, there will also be greater competition for positions, which means that prospective entrants into the field should ensure they can stand apart from their peers with a solid qualification, focused both on theory and practical experience, under their belt.

Statistics show that the tourism sector remains one of the fastest-growing economic sectors, contributing about 4.5% to total employment in 2015/2016. SA saw a 14% growth in tourist numbers from August 2015 – August 2016 and 1200 new hotel rooms between July – December 2017. A staggering 20 000 new jobs were created since 2014.

“The one statistic that truly underscores the opportunity in this industry for suitably qualified and experienced professionals, is the fact that our alumni rate of employment is a solid 100%,” says Theron.

“In addition to the benefit of being imminently employable upon graduation, many of our alumni also take advantage of exciting international opportunities every year, and they have been snapped up globally from the UK, Germany and England, to France, New Zealand, The USA and Dubai,” she says.

Deon Roets, Academic Head at Capsicum, ADvTECH’s Culinary school, agrees that opportunity combined with education in the field bodes well for the future of hospitality and culinary professionals.

“Consumers continue to become more educated and discerning, and any business in the hospitality industry is well aware of the need for their employees to be professional and effective in the workplace, and to ensure that valued visitors receive the best possible service and experience,” he says.

In the past decade, more than 4000 chefs have graduated from Capsicum, with many snapped up by leading local and global restaurants.

“The hospitality industry isn’t just expanding internationally.  The growth in South Africa remains exceptional but with more discerning consumers it is critical that training focuses on ensuring that graduates are able to cope with demanding customers.  For this reason, our focused combination of exceptional training with experiential opportunities results in confident graduates who are in high demand,” says Roets.