The Technology Higher Education Network of South Africa (THENSA) was awarded a grant by the Irish Embassy in South Africa to establish six Research and Training Clusters, including the Tourism Research and Training cluster. Tourism Research and Training is an important offering by THENSA member institutions, and the training programme/qualifications curricula and work integrated learning component is designed with input from the tourism industry.

The grant, which focuses on research and training, comes at a time when the tourism sector is facing severe strain due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. To address the current crisis and to rebuild this important economic sector will require a strategic partnership between educational institutions and industry to explore new directions and innovative solutions.

As a starting point, THENSA conducted a national environmental scan of its member institutions’ training programmes/qualifications to identify any gaps in research, skills/training, and capacity requirements to address the immediate and longer-term needs of this severely shaken industry. A virtual meeting was held in March 2021 with Technological Higher Education Association (THEA Ireland), THENSA’s affiliated partners, THENSA’s strategic partner, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the SA National Department of Tourism, to discuss the findings of the SA Environmental Scan Study and to understand the role and value of the Irish Tourism Education Gateway (TEG) Platform which serves both the tourism industry and academic sectors.

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