#ATTS2021: SMEs — the future pioneers of a new tourism sector

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Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit is just around the corner and it promises to be the continent’s most exciting gathering of tourism stakeholders yet. There is no better way to kick-start the event than by dedicating a day to empower Future Pioneers and Game Changers in the tourism sector.

The Summit is being hosted simultaneously in three major cities in Africa – Johannesburg, Durban and Lagos –between 19 and 21 September. The hybrid event gives delegates from around the world the option to attend either physically or virtually. It also gives those outside of Africa the opportunity to be a part of the Summit as they can schedule events according to their time zone.

Small and medium-sized businesses are considered crucial to the new tourism created by the onset of COVID-19. They bring fresh ideas and flexibility to adapt to a new tourism economy. SMME Day will focus on best practices in an ever-changing Brand Africa, and provide these businesses opportunities to exchange leads and collaborate as drivers for transforming the sector.

South African Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, says SMME Day is about gearing these businesses for the new future of tourism. “The Summit is what the African travel trade needs right now and SMME Day is a perfect way to reboot the tourism economy as small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of tourism. Many of the business people at SMME Day will be seasoned entrepreneurs. They do not want to know how they should run their business. Instead, they are here to find ways of adapting their businesses to a new kind of tourism market.”

Dlamini adds that the new post-COVID tourism sector will rely more on digital technology, stringent health and safety standards and new ways to package travel particularly for the outdoors. But she warns against too much speculation and asks that industry players focus on working together instead. “Right now, we cannot really predict what the tourism market will look like or what it should be. Instead, we should spend our energy on working together to rebuild the tourism sector and make it even more robust than it was before the COVID-19 era.”

With the theme “Re-awakening Africa”, the Summit calls on all tourism stakeholders to reflect, reimagine and reignite a tourism sector ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you want your business to be part of SMME Day, or would simply like to attend the Summit, visit the official website to register now. Physical attendance is not guaranteed due to a Covid-19 restriction on gatherings.

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