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Self-employment Opportunities & Skills Development



Entrepreneurs in South Africa can start a business in the tourism sector by examining their skills repertoire to fit any number of micro or small enterprises. The tourism industry in South Africa presents many opportunities for start-up enterprises. Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) are the engines of development in the tourism sector as they not only promote self-employment opportunities and job creation but also stimulates national economic growth. Tourism has developed into a thriving business in South Africa, in the following business opportunities:

  • Transport deals with transporting tourists (both domestic and international) in and around the country (air lines, shuttles, trains, buses, ships and taxis);
  • Travel Agents, whose main function is to market the temporary use of transport (air, rail, road and water), accommodation and organized tours;
  • Tour Operator businesses that transport paying  tourists on scheduled itineraries and organize accommodation, transport and excursions for their clients;
  • Tour Guides, who are qualified individuals who accompany visitors who are visiting destinations within the country and furnishing them with factual information regarding the places visited. if you live in a tourist hot spot you could start a business as a tour guide. Walking or cycling tours are all the rage right now and lend themselves to unique themes. Explore historic districts and learn every important detail. But before you start talk to your city tourism department your proposed venture. They would no doubt be happy to give you permission to promote tourism in the area, and assist in helping you plan lucrative routes. Once you’ve become established, post details of your service on relevant Web sites, take out ads in your community newspaper and include your expertise in travel magazines.
  • Tourism Consultant – as a Tourism Consultant you would advise businesses how to improve their image and products/services to be more amenable to the tourist trade. You would need tourism industry expertise such as project management, business coaching,marketing planning and conducting hands-on training programs and workshops. Project management services include comprehensive reporting to all project stakeholders, co-ordination the planning process, overseeing the day-to-day operations and implementation of the plans, management of contractors and project task groups, convening of meetings and ultimately final reports. You will also need to assist in the development of brochures, visitor guides, convention planners, websites, media relations, and other marketing collateral that is important in positioning your customers’ business in the right way;
  • Hospitality (accommodation) deals with provision of accommodation, e.g. bed and breakfast, guesthouse, self catering, youth backpacker hostels, motel, hotel;
  • Hospitality (food and beverages): are establishments that primarily cater for food and beverages to domestic and international guests e.g. restaurants, pubs and taverns, special events, and fast food outlets;
  • Informal sector: Craftspeople or street vendors sell their baskets, sculpture, bead-work, pottery, jewelry, wire craft and other ethnic wares along main roads, streets, parks, pavements, within shopping centers, and at prominent corners of streets and roads where traders are visible to pedestrians and motorists.
  • MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events) is a sector whose primary objective is arranging and hosting meetings or events such as exhibitions.

Contact Theresa ( to create a Business Plan for your tourism business.

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