The Department of Tourism in collaboration with the City of Ekurhuleni hosted a business expo in Gauteng to showcase the services and initiatives provided for SMMEs under the Tourism Enterprise Development and Support Programme.
The Tourism Enterprise Development and Support Programme is an initiative of the Department of Tourism that provides training and support for emerging and existing tourism businesses to ensure their viability and sustainability in the sector.
The Programme is part of a greater objective of the revised National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) 2016-2026 that seeks to ensure sustainable development and growth of tourism enterprises in a manner that facilitates inclusive participation, job creation and contributes to the competitiveness of tourism destinations.
“The Tourism Enterprise Development and Support Programme is a result of a need analysis conducted with tourism enterprises, and consultations with industry stakeholders.
“Our objective was to create an Enterprise Development Support Programme that is aligned to government’s focus on SMME development.
“Through the programme, we hope to facilitate the process of transforming the sector – making inclusive and accessible to new entrants, especially businesses owned and managed by the women and the youth,” added Lulama Duma – Deputy Director General (DDG) for Corporate Management.
According to the findings of the needs analysis, tourism enterprises had insufficient access to information about opportunities that exist in the sector, poor access to funding, and inadequate access to regional and international markets. This contributed to the high failure rate of tourism businesses.
“It was critical for the Department to create a comprehensive Tourism Enterprise Development Support Programme that addresses the challenges faced by the business in the sector with regards to information, funding resources and market access.
“The programme presented to SMMEs today is divided into four focus areas namely; Tourism Enterprise Development, Tourism Incubators Programme, Online Tourism Information Portal and SME Financial and non-Financial Support.”
“We have also collaborated with the Department of Small Business Development, the National Empowerment Fund, the Industrial Development Corporation and various banks – along with various private entities – to ensure that we link SMMEs to institutions that will further provide resources that will make them sustainable,” added Duma.
The Gauteng expo is a first of a number of events that will be held throughout the country from February until the end of March 2018.
For more information on the Tourism Enterprise Development and Support Programme, and the expo schedule for the various provinces visit www.tourism.gov.za