Kruger National Park to procure from small businesses to boost the tourism industry
- The Kruger National is Park planning to collaborate with small businesses within tourism, contraction, goods supply, and other sectors in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
- This is in effort to boost surrounding small businesses while fostering tourism within the Mpumalanga province.
- The province has hosted various initiative aimed at reviving tourism, including the Mpumalanga Tourism Expo over the weekend.
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The Kruger National Park is looking to procure goods and services from local small businesses in efforts to boost tourism and job creation.
The national park, which has been hard hit by Covid, aims to work with small businesses in Mpumalanga and Limpopo to boost the local SMME that have suffered due to the pandemic.
"[The Kruger National Park] is surrounded by a lot of communities that have expectations [of] the Park to assist them with employment opportunities and other infrastructure problems.
"There is only so much that the park can offer hence the initiative to meet with entrepreneurs in both Mpumalanga and Limpopo to look at ways that the KNP can procure from locals," said the Kruger National Park spokesperson Ike Phaahla.
For more than nine decades, the Kruger National Park has become one of the most visited national parks in Africa for wildlife viewing.
As part of the Rural Economic Revival programme, the tourist attraction giant will not only work with businesses in the tourism sector, but will onboard small businesses within construction, building infrastructure, IT, stationary supply, hospitality, and other businesses relevant to the park.
"Land is what we don't have, and we have restrictions on what we can do in the park," said Phaahla.
This creates opportunities for nearby businesses to earn income off of their outdoor activities which the national park cannot offer to tourists.
"For instance, we can't put in a zip-line in the park. If they have land on which they can do that, we can develop that product together and assist them where we can.
"We don't do horse riding in the park. If they have horse riding, then people can go and do horse riding in the nearby communities. There is so much that people can come up with that we are willing to support," said Phaahla.
The collaboration is an effort to grow the businesses and make them sustainable, while promoting tourism and employment in the province.
According to Phaahla the national park is surround by almost two million people who rely on it for employment, 75% of which are the youth.
In the past few weeks, the province has hosted various activities to boost tourism, including the Mpumalanga Tourism Expo which gave small businesses the platform to showcase their product offering.
In the coming weeks, Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park Gareth Coleman will embark on a roadshow to interact with stakeholders. The team will then provide information on the requirements needed for the small businesses to qualify.
"This will not only be a SANParks initiative, but other agencies have to assist in making the potential businesses comply and be able to meet their contractual obligations," said Phaahla.
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