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Tourism SMME skills workshop makes its way to Eshowe

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The Aloe Lifestyle Lodge in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal Supplied The Aloe Lifestyle Lodge in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal

Workshops aligned to strengthen the National Department of Tourism’s recovery plan

March 28, 2021 

Staff reporter 

Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal: Around 80 KwaZulu-Natal tourism Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) grabbed the opportunity to attend a key workshop to rebuild and grow their businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The “Travel with Purpose” workshop is organised by the National Department of Tourism in partnership with South African Tourism and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, took place at the Aloe Lifestyle Lodge in Eshowe, Northern KwaZulu-Natal today. It is one of nine workshops being held to support small and medium-sized businesses around the country in nine weeks.


The tourism sector is hard hit by the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic and some businesses have been forced to close their doors because of the lack of tourists.


The workshop, which will strengthen the National Department of Tourism’s recovery plan and be a significant part of the drive to transform the economy, will help rebuild the tourism sector.


It will assist SMME businesses which have been shutdown, to re-open.


“The SMMEs thoroughly enjoyed the workshop as it was an opportunity for them to gain insights into the latest trends and opportunities and look to the future with confidence,” said Phindile Makwakwa, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of TKZN.


“Workshops are also an excellent place for SMMEs to network and build relationships with other people in the industry. This can lead to trade linkages and further business for the various partners.”


The programme encouraged delegates to discuss smart strategies, develop their skills, while understanding the importance of doing and growing their businesses in the digital age.


Nokuthula Bond, owner of Liapolis Accommodation said workshops of this kind were critical as owners needed to be informed about latest trends in the industry.

 

“We need to be guided about traveling under Covid regulations. We do not have resources to do our own research. We rely on tourism entities such as TKZN to guide us so we can implement changes in our business operations,” she said.

 

Tour operator for SBRM Tours Baja Bhengu said: “These workshops also create a platform for us SMMEs to learn more about incorporating digital and innovative ways in our businesses such as the use of social media and other online interventions to have conferences, meetings, and so forth.”

“I found the sales masterclass from Andile Khumalo, particularly helpful and informative in light of the challenges we face,” added Bhengu.


Each workshop delegate also received a voucher to spend at the sustainability village specially set up for the workshop. The village will boost local economic empowerment and is part of the #BuyLocal campaign, supported by the Presidency. All products at the village were sourced from local black-owned businesses.

“With this being the seventh workshop in the campaign, it is encouraging to see the interest and enthusiasm displayed by the SMME’s to further knowledge” commented Altaaf Kazi, General Manager for Global PR and communications at South African Tourism.

“We look forward to complete hosting workshops in the remaining two provinces- Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga, and building on the success of these workshops in the future,” concluded Kazi.

Post the workshop, a SMME Networking session took place where local entrepreneurs were able to pitch to the audience their products. Arts and crafts company, Dr M, owned by entrepreneur, Zandile Mthethwa, was chosen the winner, receiving a R5000 business makeover as well as a 1year mentorship programme with Andile Khumalo.

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