I wrote in my last article about the vital importance of large corporate enterprises, regardless of the challenges they may be facing, always recognising that they have an ongoing responsibility to carry out CSI initiatives for the poverty-stricken members of our society. Almost of equal importance is our responsibility to invest in and partner with small enterprises that are trying to make some inroads into our industries, whatever they may be. In the travel and tourism industry, we need the buy-in of eager locals who understand the heart of our culture and have been a part of our history. Tourism at its best is always about the culture of the people and the rich tapestry of the country’s heritage – and no more so than in Africa.
Making a difference at a grassroots level
This means finding and supporting local entrepreneurs at a grassroots level, investing cash and offering other levels of support to assist them to grow their businesses. From our side, we have recently signed off our new cluster Enterprise Development (E.D.) initiative – working with a gentleman named Karabo Sepharatla and his business, “Camping Khapela” which truly embodies the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that we look for. We are super excited about our involvement, but before I go into detail about that perhaps I should try to describe exactly what Camping Khapela do.
Camping Khapela is a convenience adventure camping butler service company run by Karabo who is himself an experienced master camper. They offer clients the best in convenience camping experiences in the Southern African bushveld environment. It’s a unique camping service unlike any other providing its clients with all the necessities they will need to make their camping experience as convenient as possible and one they will never forget. You only bring clothes to change into, some good company and an open mind to keep up with Karabo’s anecdotes and his great sense of humour! They provide everything else including, transport, accommodation, food and drink and a whole bunch of adventure activities.
With the understanding of what a great initiative this is and seeing a chance to make a difference where it could count, Camping Khapela is an E.D. partner to BidTravel, with CWT, RenniesBCD and Travel Connections being the sponsors. These sponsors have extended finance to the company’s development and the acquisition of equipment that will help Karabo achieve his goals and better the company’s service offering. It’s not just about throwing cash at something though – it needs to become a partnership, so further to this and very importantly the sponsors will be helping camping Khapela with communication and access to the market via offering their products and services on their database.
BidTravel has also paid off a year of business development schooling to help them better manage their business dealings and guide them towards growth as a small business. So, the whole partnership package includes cash investment, assistance with marketing, and training. Without any of these you cannot call it a full business development initiative.
It’s the right thing to do
Having survived the pandemic and unimaginable hardships the Travel and Tourism industries in South Africa have not only survived but are now almost back to 2019 levels. So, to the larger role players who have the resources to fight back and get back up even when badly beaten, I say let us never forget the casualties – the smaller enterprises who are gone now and may never get back in the ring. Barack Obama said, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope”.
We may not be able to give some people back their failed businesses but we can ensure that we do everything in our power to give hope and enough strength to the next generation of entrepreneurs to equip them to one day be the giants of our industry!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER