World Travel Market Africa2023: SMME’s are tourism’ lifeblood

World Travel Market Africa2023: SMME’s are tourism’ lifeblood

Minister Patricia De Lille says that business owners and emerging SMEs are the lifeblood of the tourism sector, and has encouraged them to keep pushing and keep being part of offering visitors a true South African experience.

“Our tourism sector has a major role to play in South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan which is aimed at stimulating equitable and inclusive growth. We find that the participation of SMME’s in our tourism economy is imperative and we are going forward to support them so that they can support themselves and the economic circulation of the country. We have enabled their participation at this important platform, an invaluable opportunity to showcase their business offerings to the many buyers and investors here.” Minister De Lille said.

The minister was speaking during the World Travel market Africa 2023 (WTM) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday.

“This year, the Department of Tourism has once again supported, through funding, 30 small to medium enterprises to be here at WTM to showcase their tourism offerings and products. We are proud to support you and we hope that your businesses grow from strength to strength.” she said.

According to Minister De Lille, WTM Africa is a lively and vibrant celebration of the travel industry in South Africa, Africa and the world, and that for many years tourism made a great contribution to the livelihoods, economies and vibrancy of cities and countries.

The tourism sector like any other, was also most impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, however according to the minister, and that surviving the pandemic was evidence that tourist arrivals to South Africa is on the rise.

“During the period January – December 2022, South Africa welcomed 5.7 million tourists. This is a sharp increase of 152% when compared to the same period in the previous year. It is encouraging that arrivals from other African countries continue to be our most substantial source of arrivals, with just over 4 million arrivals during this period.”

The minister was also excited about the rise in airlift in South Africa, particularly that Brazil’s LATAM flight from São Paulo International Airport to OR Tambo International Airport will be re-launching later this year.

“These flights undoubtedly contribute to boosting our attractiveness and will contribute to seeing us return to pre-COVID-19 performance levels and beyond. De Lille said.