North West's Kagiso Legobe named 2011 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the year
Kagiso’s passion and commitment to developing young South Africans and encouraging them to join the tourism industry is particularly encouraging, given our country’s great emphasis on job creation and sustainability in the tourism sector.
A high-school passion for hiking, camping and animal conservation today culminated in the North West’s Kagiso Legobe and his Kay 2ze Gee Tours being named the winner of the coveted 2011 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA).
Legobe’s distinctive adventure and exploration tour company – which started out in 2008 targeting schools, churches, social clubs and corporates in his area - won the big ETEYA prize at a glitzy awards ceremony at Durban’s Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre this evening, which kicked off South African Tourism’s INDABA 2011 on a high note.
The 33-year-old’s passion for adventure started in high school when he joined the Animal Conservation Club undertaking hiking, camping and visits to South Africa’s game parks - sparking his initial interest in nature conservation and tourism.
After seeing the gap in his North West province for adventure-focused tour operators, he decided to start his own adventure and exploration company, which also offers learnerships to tourism graduates and gives motivational talks to schoolchildren, encouraging them to enter the tourism industry.
Legobe, whose company lists its number one priority as “keeping our customers delighted and satisfied”, became the 10th ETEYA winner after a rigorous year-long judging process, which included aspects such as leadership, strategic planning, marketing, customer service, social responsibility, financial performance, facilities and appearance.
His prize includes a R100 000 cash injection into his business and an intensive 12-month mentorship programme facilitated by TEP.
ETEYA started in 2001 and is an initiative of SA Tourism, in partnership with the nine provincial tourism authorities, the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) and South African Breweries Ltd, aimed at developing and sustaining SMME’s in the tourism sector and enhancing job creation. A recent research project undertaken by SA Tourism showed an impressive 70% increase in job creation opportunities were recorded by ETEYA finalists between 2001 and 2010.
National Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who attended the ETEYA event and addressed the finalists ahead of the announcement of the winner, stressed the value of small businesses to the tourism sector and broader South African economy as he congratulated Legobe.
“Small businesses, such as those involved in the ETEYA programme, are the key to our sustainability as a tourism sector and I would like to congratulate Kagiso and all the provincial finalists. It is certainly encouraging to witness first-hand the effects of our efforts to create sustainable businesses that are actively contributing to the growth of not only the tourism sector, but the national economy as a whole” said Minister van Schalkwyk.
“Kagiso’s passion and commitment to developing young South Africans and encouraging them to join the tourism industry is particularly encouraging, given our country’s great emphasis on job creation and sustainability in the tourism sector,” said Thandiwe January-McLean, South African Tourism’s CEO. “Kagiso has shown great determination to succeed in the competitive tourism industry and is a worthy ETEYA winner. We highly commend his efforts in carving out a niche for his business and also would like to congratulate all the ETEYA provincial finalists, who have been excellent tourism ambassadors,” Ms January-McLean added.
TEP Chief Executive Officer, Dr Salifou Siddo, believes the mentorship will benefit Kagiso, and businesses similar to his, to prosper into fully-functional SMME’s, “We would like to congratulate Kagiso on his magnificent achievement. As TEP we are committed to ensuring our valued SMME entrepreneurs are effectively supported in their long-term commitments to servicing the South African tourism industry. ETEYA is a fine example of the successes and job creation opportunities that arise from successful public-private partnership aimed at benefiting the industry,” Dr Siddo said.
“SAB commends ETEYA for the life changing opportunities it has provided entrepreneurs in the local tourism industry over the years. These efforts are in line with SAB‘s support of a culture of entrepreneurship to help create and grow sustainable businesses among the youth in South Africa,” says Vincent Maphai, SAB Director Corporate Affairs and Transformation.
“South African Breweries has always been firmly committed to assisting with the job creation mandates of our country, and we are pleased at the progress being made. We applaud Kagiso for his outstanding achievements to date and look forward to seeing him prosper, as so many other ETEYA winners and finalists have in the past,” Maphai said in conclusion.
The runner-up at ETEYA 2011 were:
· First runner up – Bassie Ngozwana of Bassie Travel Centre
· Second Runner up - Lorraine Chitate of Zanami Lodge
· Third Runner up - Michael Gumede of eBandla Hotel and Conference Centre
To enter for the 2012 ETEYA please log onto www.southafrica.net for more information.
Issued by Kezi Communications (Pty) Ltd on behalf of South African Tourism
For further information contact:
Jermaine Craig at SA Tourism Neo Phele at Kezi
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