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SA tourism workers to learn Mandarin

(People's Daily Online)  Sissy Zhang  2016-09-23 10:26


South African National Department of Tourism launched the Foreign Language Training Programme of Mandarin and Russian in Johannesburg on Sep 21st, 2016. (Picture: People’s Daily Online / Sissy Zhang)
 
Johannesburg September 21 (People's Daily Online) - 20 South African tourist guides and tourism frontline staff are being trained in Mandarin and will be sent to China for further training after 12 weeks full-time local course.
 
SA National Department of Tourism (NDT) announced 28 selected practitioners are to first benefit from learning Mandarin and Russian on the launching of the Foreign Language Training Programme in Sandton, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Tourist arrivals from China enjoy a phenomenal growth for the first half of this year. Chinese arrivals to South Africa reached 58 thousand which marks an increase of 63. 7% when compared to the overseas total growth percentage of 18.6%.

The programme is a part of the NDT’s initiatives of capacity building and skills development for local tourism practitioners. “Frontline staff play a critical role in how tourists perceive a country and equally so, tour guides are a vital part of the tourism value chain.” said Tokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of NDP, “Equally important objectives of this programme are to obviously meet the needs of the Chinese and Russian tourists.”

China has the largest outbound tourism market in the world - in 2015 over 120 million Chinese nationals visited destinations abroad. Growing trend among Chinese tourists to switch from traditional group tours to independent travel, using online platforms to search, book and pay. This makes proficiency in basic Mandarin even more important in the future.

According to Li Song, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in SA,
the two countries have reached consensus on establishing the China-South Africa High Level Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Mechanism, in which tourism will play an important part.

The Confucius Classroom at Chinese Culture & International Education Exchange Centre has custom-designed a 12-week intensive Chinese language and culture program for the trainees to use it whenever necessary to solve communication problems with Chinese clients and tourists and to overcome cultural obstacle to better associate and interact with them.