The first of SATSA’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Indabas will take place in Gauteng next year, over a two-day period from February 29 – March 1. The event has the strong collaboration of the Gauteng Tourism Authority.
The SME Indaba will showcase the products of emerging travel industry entrepreneurs to established operators in the inbound industry, thereby giving SMEs the opportunity to share in the benefits of international tourism.
The Indaba will comprise elements of speed marketing as well as familiarisation tours of products in the townships of Soweto, Kliptown and Alexandra. It will also include a debate on the controversial subject of transformation, in which some of the industry’s more vocal thought leaders will be invited to participate.
SATSA believes the Indaba will provide valuable support for small and medium enterprises, which often find themselves bypassed at larger trade shows. Says SATSA CEO David Frost: “This event is intended to provide a bridging platform, promoting the exposure of SME product in the brochures and itineraries of inbound tour operators that have long-held links with international source markets. It provides the hitherto missing key conversation between emerging product and the inbound operator.”
The Gauteng Tourism Authority is partnering with SATSA for the Indaba, which is in line with the provincial government’s aim to rejuvenate township economies and its own developmental plan. Tumi Phasha, Project Manager responsible for the co-ordination of the Township Tourism project, states it will provide market access SMEs currently do not enjoy. “It has been a struggle for many Gauteng SMEs to get to the national Indaba in Durban. The platform also offers potential to introduce international tourists to a different side of Gauteng.”
According to Phasha, 100 SMEs have already been identified in 10 township hubs around the province. Some are market ready, but others will be developed through an enterprise support programme facilitated through a partnership with the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP). Some 40 product owners and service providers will ultimately exhibit their wares at the SME Indaba.
Following the familiarisation tours, participants will be invited to offer feedback on the products and locations experienced, and their potential to attract tourist traffic.
Invitations to SATSA members will be circulated later in December, but interested parties wanting to attend are welcome to contact SATSA in the meanwhile by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SATSA plans similar Indabas in conjunction with provincial tourism authorities in the future.