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Alan Roxton Wiggill • 5 months ago

Done so many small business start ups, failed miserably but also succeeded lots of times. Martin seems rather wise in his assesment of SMME business in Tourism and certainly insightful. I would love to learn more from a person like Martin to get my current small crop of SMME tourism companies better planned and plans better implemented. You up for some Mentoring Martin? Ha Ha. Would love to meet you and bounce stuff off you to get the bigger picture right.

Jan Jenkins • 8 months ago

Those were the days - I remember how we all had meetings in Churchills at the Landrost, how we all helped each other in times of crisis and yet were competitors. Unfortunately the suppliers have forced the culture you speak of as big is bad business. By not allowing the small business to operate on a level playing field for rates small business has to fight for survival.
How can a SMME market themselves successfully when the cost to the client is so much more than that of the "big boys"??
Yes in the "when we" days we marketed fiercely - today I can't afford to go to World travel market, ITB or any othe show - perhaps if SA Tourism filtered some of their spend directly to SMME's - like paying costs for shows etc. Tourism would be a little more buoyant.
As for markets like the Chinese - remember when some of us spent a fortune being part of the "preferred" operators dreamt up by Dept of Tourism and SA Tourism? Now nobody even invites us to share what we learnt - never mind marketing us!
Martin - I and many others have been loyal to our tourism dream - hopefully one day when everything has come full circle, Someone, Somewhere, in their empire, will hand down some practical help to SMME's and not just pay lip service to this very important part of the tourism market. Where are the jobs for the young people graduating from colleges and universities - having learnt very little about the real world of tourism? Where is the finance to grow this market? I could go on ad infinitem .....

Martin Wiest • 8 months ago

Many valuable points. Interestingly enough our perception on rates extended is mostly different to yours. Large business generally has a very different cost structure with limited efficiencies of scale coming through, however these benefits are outweighed by additional costs that come along by being corporate. Especially in a dynamic rate environment our procurement advantages have largely evaporated actually putting SMME‘s in a better position.
In terms of financial assistance I share most of your views and tourism should have identical benefits as any other export business has.
Lastly my offer to all SMME‘s out there - my door and ear are always open and I would be thrilled to share some of my experiences with you

Kanya Kali • 5 months ago

Hi Martin
Thank you for offering to share some of your experiences with SMME's. I think it's a great opportunity for us to learn. Would it be possible to pay you a visit at your offices?
Thank you

Spud • 9 months ago

Far too often, the discussion on “SMME support” (in any industry) is pitched in terms of the us vs them; the good guys vs the bad, David vs Goliath.

The dominance by a small number of large firms of the SA economy is well known and its origins well understood. But if there was a sector that offers the most channels and opportunity for SME establishment, upward mobility and growth it is tourism. And the most efficient route towards small business establishment and sustainable operation at scale is through supply and service partnerships. Between well-established operators and small/emerging businesses that hover around the fringes – right across the value chain.

The Tourism Conservation Fund has two programmes which incentivise such partnerships in the wildlife-tourism economy: the Inclusive Business Linkage Fund and the Youth Internship Facility (which will work in partnership with the Private Sector Initiative’s Yes4Youth programme). Interested partners should check out our www: www.tourismconservationfund... and contact me to explore opportunities for collaboration.

Dawid de Wet • 9 months ago

Thank you Martin. Great advice!