The Tourism Business Incubator, which has now officially been launched in the Northern Cape, is poised to improve the viability and sustainability of SMMEs. The incubator, located in Mier - Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality will provide business support interventions to 50 tourism enterprises selected from the Northern Cape to receive one-on-one needs analysis, mentorship, coach and capacity training to ensure their success in the sector.
Speaking during the launch, deputy minister of tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe said: "Tourism has the potential to grow local economies, create much-needed job opportunities, and ultimately reduce poverty in our communities. The Northern Cape province has a thriving tourism economy, and it is to this end that we have elected to launch our fourth Tourism Business Incubator in this province to ensure that the benefits of tourism are enjoyed by all."
The business incubator is a component of the Tourism Enterprise Development Programme implemented by the department to ensure the sustainable development and growth of tourism enterprises in a manner that facilitates inclusive participation.
Innovative tourism a social activity for all
"Tourism is a people-based social activity that is dependent on the unique and innovative tourism offerings and experiences that are driven mostly by SMMEs. The success of tourism enterprises impacts on the success of our domestic tourism market and economy. We are establishing business incubators to ensure that tourism enterprises are successful and sustainable. We hope that through this programme we will be able to facilitate the process of transforming the sector – making it inclusive and accessible to new entrants," added Thabethe.
The department also hosted an information session to highlight the services and initiatives provided for SMMEs under the Tourism Enterprise Development and Support Programme. The information session featured presentations that addressed the challenges faced by businesses with regards to information on funding sources, the grading of establishments, and information on incentivised initiatives to expose SMMEs to international markets.
"We have also collaborated with the department of small business development, the National Empowerment Fund, and the Industrial Development Corporation – along with various private entities – to ensure that we link SMMEs to institutions that will further provide resources that will catapult them to success."
Thabethe concluded by urging the Northern Cape to actively participate in the business incubator and the greater Tourism Enterprise Development Programme: "Let’s work together to grow tourism and make South Africa a destination of choice."