The Department of Tourism is set to introduce a programme that will stimulate and encourage innovation in the travel sector.

The department, in collaboration with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), will implement the Tourism Technology Grassroots Innovation Incubation Programme (TTGIIP).

The programme aims to stimulate entrepreneurship and new start-up enterprises in the tourism industry, underpinned by technology, innovation and new business ideas that have the potential to enhance services in tourism.

The department and the TIA are co-funding the two-year project, with the TIA being the implementing agent.

The department said developments in technology have played a fundamental role in the growth of the tourism and travel industry, and now with the impact of COVID-19, the “use of digital solutions is ever more apparent”.

“Digitalisation…opens new frontiers, and improves resource management and competitiveness.

“The purpose of TTGIIP is to provide a pipeline of young South African tourism-tech entrepreneurs, who can enhance or disrupt the industry, as well as introduce new concepts that will help boost, sustain and create more jobs in the tourism sector,” the department said.

The project will focus on four key elements of business development, including:

Business management skills of the entrepreneur through skills development and training;

The enterprise idea and prototype design and development, business viability and market testing, regulatory compliance, business financial/ risk structure and quality standards;

Facilitate start-up funding and venture capital for business expansion; and

Facilitation of market and trade linkages for commercialisation of enterprises.

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