|Junior Tourism Minister Taloshili O. Hangula & Deputy Minister Tsholofelo Tsheto|
As the New Year begins, the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) officially unveils the recently elected Junior Tourism Ministers as they take up their regional seats.
It was indeed survival of the fittest in the essay competition and winning the title for the reigning junior tourism ministers did not come on a silver platter. Six out of numerous essays that were submitted regionally qualified for the finals. Taloshili Olavi Hangula (15) of Namibia won the hearts of the judges and was elected Southern Africa Junior Tourism Minister while Tsholofelo Tsheto (12) of Botswana is the Deputy Minister.
The term of office for the Junior Tourism Ministers will run for one year. This is a big chance for them to participate and input into the regional agenda on tourism development in Southern Africa, paying special attention on how the youth can play a meaningful role in the region. Their duty is mainly to reach out and motivate every school child in Southern Africa, aged between 7 and 17 years to join the Youth in Tourism band wagon. The engagement will be done through existing social media platforms that have already been established by RETOSA, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition to this, the Junior Tourism Ministers will be able to communicate directly with their peers through a blog that will be managed by RETOSA. These networks will enable open interactions and debates on sustainable tourism.
The Junior Tourism Minister will develop a forum as well as interact with students at secondary school level while the Deputy concentrates on learners in primary school.
There is a lot that is lined up for the year and this includes the second edition of Youth in Tourism Essay Competition 2014, Youth in Tourism Arts Festival and Conference, edutainment events and so much that will be unveiled as the year progresses. In line with regional events, the Junior Tourism Ministers will participate in the UNWTO First Regional Meeting scheduled for May 7-9, 2014 in Kwazulu Natal, Durban, Tourism Indaba which is held annually in Durban, Ministerial meeting which is slated for February in Zambia, just to mention a few. During all these events, the Junior Tourism Minister and his Deputy will be given an opportunity to present on the involvement of youth in sustainable tourism and any other issues relating to the youth in tourism.
The youth in tourism project is an ongoing program spearheaded by RETOSA after realizing that the youth are a critical component in the sustainable development of tourism in Southern Africa and this is also in order to create a regional platform of mainstreaming scholars into tourism programs. RETOSA is responsible for growth and promotion of tourism in Southern Africa. RETOSA’s members state are namely: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.