SMMEs gear up for Africa’s Travel Indaba

Sunday, May 12, 2024

With just one day to go until the start of Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) 2024, over 120 hopeful and excited small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are gearing up for the highlight of their marketing calendars.

Themed, 'Unlocking Opportunities', the renowned Africa Travel Indaba, which will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, from 13 to 16 May 2024, is expected to connect the tourism industry with unlimited opportunities.

The event is expected to be attended by 9 000 delegates from over 25 countries.

Acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), Sibusiso Gumbi, said of the 120 SMMEs, 15 are KwaZulu-Natal-based SMMEs, which are part of TKZN's Tourism Enterprise Development Programme. 

Gumbi said the SMMEs will be using every opportunity to showcase and sell their products and services to the thousands of domestic and international travel buyers attending the indaba. 

“These fledgling businesses exhibiting on the TKZN stand have an integral part to play in the growth and development of the tourism sector. SMMEs not only contribute to job creation but are important for bringing new products to market and creating jobs,” Gumbi said.

Whilst most outbound travel is dominated by corporates, Gumbi noted that 80% of those serving the inbound market are small owner-managed operations. 

“In fact, small businesses account for more than 80% of the tourism industry as a whole.

“We want SMMEs to grow into substantial players in this critical sector of our economy. However, we know transformation will not occur spontaneously but requires deliberate and sustained effort from all stakeholders. 

“For this reason, we have implemented various programmes to ensure that our SMMEs get the much deserved and needed support. Enabling SMMEs to attend ATI is one of the ways in which we assist emerging tourism businesses,” Gumbi said.

EThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development and Planning Committee Chairperson, Thembo Ntuli said the city’s economy will benefit immensely from hosting this four-day event. 

“Hotel occupancy is expected to be between 85% and 95%. The total expected spending is estimated at R177 million, contributing R439 million to eThekwini’s GDP with 796 jobs to be created,” Ntuli said.