Tourism Blue Flag Youth Graduate into the Tourism Economy

For 19th th February 2021

At our graduation ceremony held in Simonstown on Friday, 16 previously unemployed Western Cape
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. Mr Jonga
Kuhlane 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, Sustainable Tourism General Manager, Mr Vince Shacks, indicated
that of the 23 youth who entered the Programme in March 2020, 16 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 Overstrand Local
Municipality, Whale Coast Tourism, Old Harbour Museum, Kleinmond Tourism, Harbour Island Marina,
Shark Spotters, Seaforth Penguin Monitors, Gravity Adventures, African Eagle Day Tours, City of Cape
Town, Shark Warrior Adventures, Edith Stephens Wetland Park, SANCOBB, and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

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. Of the youth who exited the programme over the course of the year,
a number left to start their own small businesses or took up full-time employment. Beach Steward Carol-
Ann Jantjies congratulated her fellow stewards on persevering over the long lockdown periods, and to
take encourage and action from all they had learnt about tourism, networking and creating their own
small businesses.

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