The BDF was created by the board to provide access to mentorship and practical resources to historically disadvantaged businesses in 2013

Empower and enable young entrepreneurs – that’s the message Cape Town Tourism is seeking to share during Youth Month 2018. The organisation is seeking to attract more entrepreneurs to the tourism sector, and it’s using a variety of mechanisms to do so.

Empowering current and future tourism professionals

Cape Town Tourism’s Board Development Fund (BDF) is one of many opportunities for young entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in the industry.

The BDF was created by the board to provide access to mentorship and practical resources to historically disadvantaged businesses in 2013. The BDF has subsequently provided practical support to two to three businesses every year. Businesses that show great potential, including:

AFTA Africa Tours is run by Janice Davids, who has extensive tourism industry experience, but needed additional capacity development support. For smaller operators such as Janice, mentorship offers a birds-eye view of industry that can open up additional niche travel opportunities.

Macassar Pottery, run by Johan de Meyer, offers a unique clay experience that is immersive and distinctly cultural in nature in this underexplored part of the metropole. While the business had moderate success on its own, as a BDF recipient, its scope has been broadened. This initiative also provides many opportunities for the local community including training for young people, so its transformative impact is immediate.

L&S Shuttle Services, run by Sandiswa Gwele and Luthando Gwele, puts a professional spin on a competitive environment, providing a visitor-centric shuttle experience that’s central to tourism: getting visitors from A to B in comfort and security.

Multiple initiatives with a collective impact

Warrior on Wheels is a grassroots organisation that’s uplifting and empowering differently-abled children by creating specially-tailored adventures and creating awareness and changing perceptions, giving these children the chance to explore the city in a way that’s intimate and affirming. Universal Access to tourism is part of the broad-based, sustainable tourism approach adopted by businesses to ensure that barriers to access are removed.

Cape Town Tourism has also developed the Halaal Chef Exchange to encourage local chefs to expand on their culinary knowledge and to introduce them to Halal cuisine. Of the chefs who participated in the programme 70% are classified youth; this highlights that upskilling and empowering chefs is all central to creating a more inclusive destination.

Part of highlighting what’s happening includes creating awareness of youth upliftment programmes, for example: the Love Cape Town Neighbourhoods video series on Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain respectively features the Khayelitsha Canoe Club which teaches youth to participate in sporting activities and grow tourism, and SEED which works with unemployed youth to ensure food security and grow youth-led eco-enterprises. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=NC5ANxK2uck >

Working with schools to showcase tourism

Young people with historically disadvantaged backgrounds may lack access to tourism experiences and activities; where possible, Cape Town Tourism showcases experiences that will appeal to schools, such as open days at attractions and museums, as well as interacting with schools to expand young people’s perception of industry.

Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism said, “Our goal is always around sustainability in tourism, and, with growth in the sector, we must encourage creative, young entrepreneurs to explore the industry; although the larger operators benefit by tourism growth, the bigger the sector is, the more opportunities for fresh ideas to expand on what’s available for visitors to enjoy.

“Barriers to entry include funding and a lack of mentorship programmes. But as we work with local organisations, we’re seeking to address these hurdles. It’s only by taking action that we can see authentic transformation in industry, especially for young, black business owners,” he concludes.

There are a variety of opportunities such as bursaries and mentorships that are available for young people seeking to get into tourism.

See: https://bursaries-southafrica.co.za/travel-tourism-internships/ and http://www.zabursaries.co.za/government-bursaries-south-africa/department-of-tourism-bursary/