THE 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ is going to present immense opportunities for businesses in the tourism industry, especially for emerging entrepreneurs.

This is according to Lindsay Daniller, the manager of enterprise development for 2010 of the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP). She was presenting a report entitled Towards 2010 and beyond, a result of a survey conducted among 5 000 emerging tourism entrepreneurs in World Cup host cities.

The TEP, a public-private partnership between the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Business Trust, was established in April 2008. It facilitates the growth and development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism sector.

The company also focuses on increasing these small enterprises’ business activities by providing greater market access. Delivering the report to scores of tourism businesses at Nasrec, in Soweto, on Friday, 7 November, Daniller said the aim of the survey was to gauge the readiness of tourism SMMEs to participate in the World Cup.

“Most emerging tourism SMMEs operate in urban centres and recognised tourism areas,” she said. “A large number of these SMMEs are B&Bs [bed and breakfasts], guest houses and businesses that manufacture and sell crafts. These emerging enterprises offer an impressive range of tourism goods and services.”

Townships like Soweto had the largest number of emerging tourism SMMEs, offering accommodation, arts and crafts, and food and beverages.

With numerous B&Bs, restaurants, entertainment hotspots, and recognised tourist attractions, like the Hector Pieterson Museum and the Mandela Family Museum, Soweto is expected to be one of the main visitor attractions in 2010.

The venue for the opening ceremony, and opening and final matches of the World Cup, Soccer City, is also located on the outskirts of Soweto, an opportunity for tourism businesses to tap into the thousands of international visitors expected to attend matches at the stadium.

Daniller said the survey found that many enterprises were viable and able to provide services and goods for 2010 and beyond, even though there were challenges to be surmounted.

“Accommodation establishments run by emerging enterprises in the 2010 World Cup host cities are generally modest in size, but contribute … more than 12 000 rooms, which is not insignificant. This complements the capacity of the established hospitality sector and could play an important role during the 2010 World Cup,” she said.

However, many emerging accommodation establishments were ungraded, presenting an urgent challenge in respect of the football tournament.

MATCH, the FIFA agency that manages accommodation and other services for 2010, required all establishments on its database to be graded, and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) would not grade establishments run by informal – read unregistered – enterprises.

“This means that all emerging accommodation enterprises that want to benefit from the formal 2010 booking and payments system have to be registered as business entities as well as graded,” said Daniller.

The survey found that arts and crafts businesses were the least developed SMMEs in business terms. “However, crafters tend to be highly committed entrepreneurs, and add significant value to tourism products.”

Overall, the survey found that notwithstanding the challenges faced by most tourism SMMEs, emerging enterprises offered an impressive range of tourism goods and services.

“This provides a sound foundation for development. There are also gaps and shortages in the overall range of tourism products, providing significant opportunities for emerging SMMEs.”

A word of encouragement came from Dr Nikolaus Eberl, the author of The Hero’s Journey, who had some words of advice for emerging tourism entrepreneurs. He said Germany hosted a successful World Cup in 2006 because of that country’s excellent hospitality.

“Many people had preconceived ideas of Germans. They were regarded as unfriendly and aloof. But when 2006 came, visitors were treated like royalty by the hospitality industry. The fan festivals also provided an excellent opportunity for ordinary Germans to extend their hand of friendship to visitors.”

Eberl said the 2010 event also provided an opportunity for South Africans to show the world what South Africa – and Africa as a whole – had to offer.

AUTHOR: Ndaba Dlamini
DATED: 10th November 2008