The workshop began with updates from the 4 South African PPT pilot sites and the day built on their experience. While a diverse range of issues was discussed several common themes emerged, including:
- The ‘internal’ agenda: in different ways the pilot partners are all looking at how to ‘mainstream’ PPT into their core business, and move it beyond adhoc initiatives. Companies need to convince and motivate their own staff and boards to implement PPT, particularly through practical demonstration of what can be achieved. The business case for PPT needs to be clear, although the corporate costs and gains vary by type of company, site and initiative. The process of identifying and adapting corporate priorities for PPT and of building local relationships is time-consuming and slow, but integral to the PPT process.
- The external context: fractious relations with government bodies (e.g. a conservation authority) can block PPT action. Although consumer interest is growing, more critical mass is needed to provide the market for a strong PPT approach.
- Enterprise development is essential to implementing trade linkages with local entrepreneurs and SMMEs. But there is a lot of work to be done to move beyond ‘fronting’, to exploit a range of business opportunities, and to assist local entrepreneurs to break into markets in the face of existing contracts.
- Local partnerships are critical but difficult – clear expectations and adaptive management are needed.
- The potential for further implementation of PPT is enormous given: the desire – and pressing need – in the sector to move beyond BEE policies to impact on development on the ground; new efforts to link first and second economies; and the market gaps identified in relation to cultural tourism products in South Africa.
- Good practice models and further championing of PPT/trade linkages are needed to ‘roll out’ the approach to others in the industry.
The rest of the meeting report can be found in PDF format, just follow the link on the right-hand side of this page.
This workshop was organised to bring together partners involved in the programme: 'Pro-Poor Tourism Pilots in Southern Africa'. At this point, with implementation underway at the sites and with one year to run, the workshop agenda focused on the practical issues involved in implementing PPT. The aim was for participants to exchange ideas and learn from each other by discussing progress and challenges, and to identify key issues for the year ahead.