Analysing entrepreneurial and marketing development skills for small tourism enterprises in the Vaal Triangle region
De Klerk, Natasha
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Increasing unemployment and low economic growth are of growing concern in the world economy and a recognised intervention to combat these challenges is entrepreneurship. Tourism has been acknowledged as an underexploited sector with considerable potential for addressing these challenges. In order to advance entrepreneurial activity, it is essential for students to possess the necessary entrepreneurial skills. However, the absence of consensus on the content of training courses and curricula is currently a concern in the field of entrepreneurship. South African higher education institutions need to redefine their roles and academics should take heed, and ensure that the curricula that they provide correspond with the requirements of practitioners. Through analysing the development skills of successful entrepreneurs, the focus of training courses and curricula can be established. This study constitutes exploratory research into an important issue facing many higher education institutions today and is supported by a detailed literature review and an empirical study. Higher education institutions have to remain competitive due to the turbulent and changeable environment within which they operate. The literature review, in accordance with the scope and limitations of the study, concentrated on the principles of tourism management, together with the entrepreneurial and marketing development skills essential to tourism entrepreneurs. For the empirical part of the study, a self-administered questionnaire was sent to a sample of tourism enterprise owners, tourism management academics and tourism management students. The objective was to develop a set of guidelines for the content of the entrepreneurship and marketing subjects for tourism management students. The research findings provide a balanced view in that they incorporate the perceptions of tourism enterprise owners, tourism management academics and tourism management students. The skills analysed within this study, together with the suggested implementation method, can be used to guide the structured integration of the development of these skills into tourism management programmes. The intention of the study was to cover a wide range of entrepreneurial and marketing development skills essential for the tourism entrepreneur, so that a clear set of skills could be formulated for the recommended inclusion into the content of tourism entrepreneurship and marketing curricula.