Misconceptions about Tourism and Hospitality: Q&A with Nosipho Dinwa

Careers in tourism and hospitality often carry a misconception of being merely “service-oriented” or “entry-level” jobs, lacking prestige and opportunities for advancement. From when I was young (and I happen to be very old), tourism and hospitality is often ridiculed and a lot of young people feel discouraged to take that career path. So, I spoke to a mover and shaker/award winner in the tourism and hospitality industry, Nosipho Dinwa, to discuss misconceptions when it comes to this field. This is how it went:

Sibusiso Nkosi: In your view and assessment, do you think that as South African parents we understand this field? Sometimes I hear what seems to be misconceptions.

Nosipho Dinwa: In my experience, there are still some misconceptions about tourism and hospitality careers among South African parents. Many view these fields as limited to low-paying service jobs, without realizing the diverse and rewarding opportunities available. The industry encompasses everything from hotel management and event planning to tourism development and marketing. It offers paths for entrepreneurship, leadership roles, and work with global brands. More awareness is needed about the professional growth potential and transferable skills gained in this sector.

Sibusiso Nkosi: Is a career in tourism and hospitality still worth pursuing in 2024? What do opportunities look like out there in your opinion? PS: This is not career advice, just an observation.

Nosipho Dinwa: A career in tourism and hospitality remains viable and promising in 2024. While the industry faced challenges during the pandemic, it has shown resilience and is rebounding strongly. There’s growing demand for sustainable and experiential travel, creating new niches. Technology integration is opening up roles in areas like digital marketing and data analytics. South Africa’s tourism sector, in particular, has significant growth potential. Opportunities exist in areas such as eco-tourism, cultural tourism, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) tourism, and luxury travel segments.

Sibusiso Nkosi: You are doing some great work in the tourism and hospitality industry to empower others. Can you share some of your projects and how people can support them?

Nosipho Dinwa: I’m currently involved in several initiatives aimed at empowering others in the industry:
   – A mentorship program connecting experienced professionals with tourism students and recent graduates.
   – Young Professional career development within Hospitality & Tourism  .
   – A scholarship fund to support underprivileged students pursuing hospitality education.

   People can support these efforts by volunteering as mentors, attending our  events, or spreading awareness about these initiatives on social media.

Sibusiso Nkosi: What advice do you have for tourism students who are discouraged because of negative views about the field but cannot back out now because fees have already been paid?

Nosipho Dinwa: To tourism & hospitality students feeling discouraged, I’d say: Stay focused on your goals and the bigger picture. The skills you’re learning – customer service, cultural awareness, problem-solving, adaptability – are highly valuable across many industries. Use your time to gain practical experience through internships or part-time work. Network actively within the industry. Consider specializing in growing areas like sustainable tourism or luxury travel. Remember that tourism & hospitality are  global industries, offering opportunities for travel and international work. Your education is an investment in a dynamic field with diverse career paths – don’t let short-term challenges overshadow the long-term potential.

Make sure you check out Nosipho Dinwa on Linkedin.

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About Sibusiso Nkosi

Seasoned Executive. Board Member. Certified Life Coach (Specializing in Career Coaching).

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