Satsa and SA Tourism’s market access programme will see a host of new players with unique offerings showcased at a speed marketing session ahead of Indaba as well as throughout the show.

The programme, taking place from December 2016 to May 2017, will see SMEs trained and mentored before a final group are selected to be showcased.

Satsa Chief Operating Officer, Hannelie du Toit, who is the driving force behind the programme, said she was excited about the SMEs participating, adding that they included diverse products in the adventure, lifestyle, urban, culture and wildlife categories.

SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, said developing SMEs was a valuable way to add to the product set South Africa had to offer. “We feel that, as South Africa, at the moment we are only showcasing a certain perspective of the country,” he said.

Ntshona explained that the country was predominantly positioned around its beach, mountain and safari offering. “There’s more to South Africa,” he said, adding that tapping into the country’s hidden treasures within the SME sector added new unique experiences to South Africa’s offering.

Elevating new and unique experiences would also help increase repeat visitors, said Ntshona. “The more products we have to showcase and sell as a country, the more attractive we are, especially for repeat business.”

While the programme will support and develop SMEs, the final stage will see the selection of the top SMEs in terms of quality, and these ones will be showcased at Indaba. The SMEs that do not make it to Indaba this year will be further developed and trained to help them reach the criteria needed to enter the established tourism channel. Du Toit added that Satsa was checking to ensure that the SMEs had insurance and were registered with SARS.

This article is part of a series in which Tourism Update highlights small and medium enterprises in the tourism sector. This series is brought to you courtesy of South African Tourism.