Tourism Blue Flag Youth Graduate into the Tourism Economy

For 18thth February 2021

PRESS RELEASE                     

At our graduation ceremony held in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, 22 previously unemployed Eastern Cape and Garden Route youth graduated from the Tourism Blue Flag Project.  Funded by the National Department of Tourism (NDT), and implemented by WESSA, the TBF Project is a youth skills-training programme.  Mrs Puleng Mathopa of the NDT spoke of how the project aimed to create 200 learnership opportunities over two years in the tourism sector for unemployed, disadvantaged youth.  The placement of these youth, called Beach stewards, with host institutions also aimed to support municipalities managing the Blue Flag status beaches and marinas.  The project also supported private tourism companies working to build back better from the severe impact of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.


Representing WESSA at the event, Youth & Schools General Manager, Ms Cindy-Lee Cloete, indicated that of the 33 youth who entered the Programme in March 2020, 22 were graduating after a year of being placed with local hosts to gain marketable skills and work experience.  These include beach environmental monitoring, visitor surveying, arranging activities and events for beach goers, administration, guiding, reception, social media updating, enviro-education and visitor services.  Of these stewards, 75% were young women and 2% were disabled youth, all who are being given an opportunity to enter the tourism economy.  Our host organisations included: the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Zwartkops Conservancy, Sustainable Seas Trust, Pine Lodge Resort, SANCOBB, Raggy Charters, Stampede Cruises, the Kouga Local Municipality, Supertubes Guest House, the Bitou Local Municipality, The garden Route Wolf Sanctuary, The Wildfowl Sanctuary and the Cape St Francis Resort.


The graduating Beach Stewards received their certificates of competency for their year-long accredited tourism guiding training.  WESSA TBF Project Manager, Morgan Griffiths shared his concern of how the tourism industry had significantly contracted due to Covid-19 impacts; however he was encouraged at how these stewards graduating today have earned for themselves a place in the blue economy, helping to develop a more sustainable future for themselves and for their local communities.  A key element of their training, which continued virtually over lockdowns, was how to start their own small businesses to create innovate tourism products.  Beach Steward Masibuye Mandinda congratulated his fellow stewards who had exited the programme over the course of the year to start their own small businesses or took up full-time employment, and encouraged the graduating stewards to take the risks and follow in their successes.


WESSA is proud to implement this highly impactful youth development programme, and together with our stakeholders, the NDT, municipalities, and private host institutions, will induct a new group of 104 Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards in early March 2021.


For more information please contact:

TBF Project Manager, Morgan Griffiths: Email:  : 072 417 5793

WESSA Group HR, Marketing and Communications Manager: : 076 213 9873