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  • Writer's pictureMandisa Magwaxaza

World Tourism Day 2021 - How can the Tourism Industry Create Inclusive Growth.

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

The theme for UNWTO #WorldTourismDay2021 is Tourism for Inclusive Growth. What does inclusive growth look like in South Africa? Who needs to be brought in from the cold and what does growth look like for the South African Tourism Industry?

I believe that Molo Mhambi will help the Tourism Business Community to #AID towards sustainable development goals.

The main value chain of the South African Tourism Industry is rooted outside our continent. For the 10+ years that I worked in reservations and marketing for hospitality businesses in South Africa and Africa, I was acculturated to write marketing content and create campaigns with the European customer first in mind. For obvious reasons. Tourism, in our context, is about attracting the world to Africa, but I never got the impression that ‘the world’ included Africa.

When the world could not come, there was a hard refresh on the paradigm. We saw that Tourism, like charity, should begin at home. A lot of work needs to be done to secure the inclusion of the African market and African entrepreneurs within the main value chain of Tourism. The 2020 hiatus gave the Tourism Industry time to reflect on what transformation means, and I believe that many agree that the money made from tourism should flow to more people and more places than it did before Covid. More conversations took place about #Acess #Inclusion and #Diversity in Tourism.

The South Africa Tourism community has welcomed numerous organisations that have emerged during the pandemic that lobby for the inclusion of ‘previously disadvantaged communities, LGBTQ++ travellers and disabled people into tourism development and promotion. They do well to raise awareness about the issues that prevent members of the outlined communities from feeling completely welcomed in Tourism, and also equip SMMEs with the necessary training and skills that will enable them to do business in the new and inclusive tourism environment.

So let’s say that a woman from the deep rural areas has learned the best way to prepare linen to international standards, is trained to create a check-in process and knows how to manage inventory on digital platforms, amongst many other functions of running a hospitality business; is that enough for her to benefit from the main value chain? Is anyone other than her benefactors willing to do business with her?

Inclusive growth in tourism is possible when those who have existing clientele and market share can find new tourism offerings with whom to share the market. In the book TOURISM, TRAVEL & COVID-19, I wrote TOURISM VS POORISM, an article about how public-private partnerships enable inclusive growth for Tourism. I also note that it takes entrepreneurs to create products of interest that leverage the contemporary culture in townships and villages.

The Tourism value chain is made up of services that facilitate the organisation of international travel and over the years big businesses such as multi-national hotel chains, international tour operators, and global airline carriers have had the most money to spend on marketing campaigns and sales forces. This has resulted in them shaping the trends of inbound travel to South Africa and Africa and establishing strong relationships with the biggest source markets. These are very important linkages that have enabled South Africa to gain maximum revenues from source markets such as the UK, Germany, Netherlands and United States. The size and success of Businesses in the South African tourism industry have been in direct proportion to their ability to invest money to further leverage these links for themselves. Where does this leave Rural Mama’s Homestay?

Rural Mama’s Homestay is a unique offering that gives travellers a cultural and social experience. It symbolises the growth of South African tourism. The pie will grow as new and exciting experiences are added to the traditional value chain. The existing players can benefit from partnering with these businesses to enrich their clients’ experiences and directly contribute to the inclusive growth of South Africa’s tourism industry. Molo Mhambi Relations helps Tourism and Hospitality businesses to bridge this gap by finding the gems that could work best together, polishing potential packages or partnerships, and connecting them. This is what we call Outcomes-based Relationship Management.

We also offer content marketing, marketing strategy and public relations services to tourism and hospitality businesses. Contact us to leverage your product's authenticity and nurture your brand’s relevance.

Click here to hear more at the Molo Mhambi Business Launch on Thursday.

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