Boats boost tourism BEE

5 May 2005

A government-led initiative to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape tourism industry has been given a boost with a new black economic empowerment (BEE) partnership between two local tourism companies.

The companies are Creating Unforgettable Experiences (CUE) and Southern Ambition Cruises, the first and only black tour-boat operator in South Africa.

Formed in 1997, CUE owns a boat that ferries guests to Seal Island off Cape Town, offers private sunset cruises and hosts corporate functions. Southern Ambition Cruises, formed in 2004, runs tour boat operations in Cape Town’s Hout Bay harbour.

The partnership will allow Southern Ambition Cruises to tap into the expertise of a larger company with an international profile. It will also give it more leverage in the R21-billion local tourism industry, which is still dominated by white role-players.

The provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism will launch five business advisory centres in June to help educate emerging tourism entrepreneurs. These will be in addition to the two already in operation.

At the launch of the deal in Hout Bay on Friday, Western Cape MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Lynne Brown said there was an urgent need to transform the tourism industry.

“The Western Cape’s beauty stands in stark contrast to the shacks and poverty”, Brown said. “This is a major concern to government, and must be rectified urgently.”

The joint venture signed by the two companies was a step in the right direction, Brown said. “To ensure the inequalities of the past are addressed, we need big businesses to partner and mentor emerging ones.”

Southern Ambition Cruises chairperson Morris Nongabe said the joint venture would open doors for the previously disadvantaged. “We will use the benefits of this joint venture to help make broad-based BEE a reality”, he said.

The agreement will see each company get a 50% share of the profits.

Source: Bua News