Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities and Tourism Alan Winde. PHOTO: Western Cape Government

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape department of economic development and tourism is focusing on developing a digital readiness toolkit aimed at small businesses.

 Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde on Thursday, marked World Tourism Day, which this year highlights the importance of digital technology in the tourism sector.

“In line with this, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism is focusing on developing a digital readiness toolkit aimed at small businesses. Tourism SMMEs (small, medium and micro-enterprises) in the province are encouraged to make use of it once it is fully rolled out,” said Winde.

The statement said research conducted by the department has found that small businesses in the province lack an awareness and understanding of the impact that digital adoption could have on their operations.

The toolkit is an online, made-for-mobile website which will show all the available, on-the-ground resources a small business could need, such as mentorship, funding and business development support and useful apps and downloadable tools.

Apart from mapping small business support services, this entrepreneur platform will include a range of features and content to cater to the various business needs of start-ups and growth businesses.

These will include a business self-assessment to identify what aspects of the business need attention, a range of downloadable tools, and access to business content from a range of partners.

“The toolkit may not have been specifically developed for the tourism industry, however, we know that many of the province’s SMMEs are in the tourism space, and once fully functional, the toolkit will go a long way towards helping these businesses embrace digital technology,” Winde said.

Tourism is one of the key drivers of the economy in the Western Cape, responsible for creating a combined total of 300,000 jobs in the province. In South Africa, one in 23 people is employed in this sector.

"In recent years, we’ve seen the important role that digital technology can play in this sector, ranging from the use of social media for marketing purposes, through to online booking platforms and mobile phone applications. The fourth industrial revolution is a chance for us to embrace technology and harness innovation. Once we do, there is tremendous room for growth and further job creation, especially in the tourism sector.

“Cape Town has recently been named as the technology hub of Africa, and we are home to some fantastic fin-tech businesses and developers. By working together, the tech and tourism sectors in this province have the potential to really create some great products that could make travel simpler for tourists and business easier for tourism operators and businesses," added Winde.

- African News Agency (ANA)