Tourism Incubator To Boost Rural Tourism Businesses And Communities



As small businesses serve as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation - Anglo American’s enterprise and youth development arm, Zimele, launched a business incubator programme in Limpopo and the North West targeted at small-medium enterprises in the tourism sector.




The incubator programme seeks to support 50 small tourism businesses specialising in accommodation, travel, transport, food and catering, events and arts and crafts in communities in which Anglo American operates. It will provide support with upfront mentorship and access to funding opportunities in the tourism sector with the aim of uplifting rural tourism following the effects of Covid-19.

“A number of travel and tourism businesses in South Africa are still struggling to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic at a time when the sector should be driving economic growth and job creation. The incubator aims to increase economic activity, and strengthen livelihoods and businesses, through increased turnover, better business linkages and job creation,” said Larisha Naidoo, Head of Anglo American Zimele.

The country’s tourism sector is emerging as a key driver of economic growth and job creation across the country. Department of Home Affairs data showed a 153% increase in tourist arrivals in 2022 over the previous year, while the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) expects the local travel and tourism sector to grow at an average rate of 7.6% annually over the next decade, significantly outstripping the 1.8% growth rate of the country’s overall economy.

The sector is also expected to create more than 800,000 jobs over the next decade, to reach more than 1.9 million by 2032.

Naidoo says: “We are excited about partnering with Sigma International on this because they bring proven experience in creating and catalysing economic, environmental, and social impact to benefit everyone”.

The newly launched tourism business incubator follows the success of Zimele’s youth tourism and hospitality skills development programme, which saw more than 1 300 young people completing training as assistant chefs, table attendants and assistant housekeepers in 2022. Nearly 800 youths from this programme have already been placed in employment, and Zimele aims to recruit and train a further 2 970 youth over the next four years.

The training is part of Zimele’s Youth Development Programme’s existing workforce readiness programme, which aims to create employment opportunities for youth in communities around Anglo American’s mining operations.

This pilot incubation project is being implemented on the ground by Zimele’s partner Sigma International, a specialist advisory and implementation company.


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