Emerging tourism entrepreneur to win big

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa's top emerging tourism entrepreneur stands a chance of walking away with R100 000 cash at the upcoming Indaba 2009 Travel and Tourism Expo.

The Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA), which takes place at the expo in Durban on Friday, is an annual event which recognises emerging entrepreneurs for their ability to start up and run viable businesses.

Entries are received from all over the country, after which semi-finalists and then finalists are chosen from each of the nine provinces. The final winner is chosen from the nine provincial finalists.

The Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP), which is the official co-sponsor of ETEYA, together with South African Tourism and South African Breweries, has provided free consulting services to the finalists, including product and skills development, to assist the tourism enterprises to grow from strength to strength.

TEP Chief Executive, Siva Pillay, said ETEYA is one of those Awards which really align with the role of TEP.

"Our business is about finding and nurturing small tourism businesses around the country and our focus is on ensuring a consistent, sustainable, quality product and service delivery from smaller tourism offerings. ETEYA rewards entrepreneurs who achieve just this."

TEP has had the opportunity to work with all the 2009 finalists of the ETEYA Awards providing mentorship and skills programmes suited to their particular needs.

The nine finalists are Brenda Roopai from KwaZulu-Natal, Tebogo Mametja from Limpopo, Maria Nyawula from the Eastern Cape, Lubabalo Mbontsi from the Western Cape, Meshack Nkadimang from the Northern Cape, Mathoto Tlokotsi from the Free State, Johannes Kaledi from the North West, Amos Mduli from Mpumalanga and Melina Langa from Gauteng.

Mr Pillay said the finalists demonstrate TEP's long held belief that South Africa has a wealth of hidden tourism offerings which need to be discovered, promoted and brought to market.

"This is the basis of our Hidden Treasures Programme, and while these excellent products are being recognised through ETEYA, there are many hundreds of other great offerings which we are identifying for more effective promotion in the coming year.

"It is not enough to just ensure the product is right and the skills are there to support the product, we also need to actively ensure that the right people are being exposed to the offering so that it will be used and visited," Mr Pillay said.

In March, TEP sponsored the nine provincial finalists to attend ITB (International Tourism Fair - Berlin - Germany). The aim of the trip was to provide international market access and exposure.

TEP provided a two-day pre-ITB preparatory training session, supported them at the stand and debriefed them at the end of each day to improve the experience of a global tourism trade show.