We chatted to Enterprise iLembe CEO Nathi Nkomzwayo about supporting local businesses during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The #seeyousoon tourism campaign has inspired many South Africans to travel locally as the lockdown restrictions lift. Why is this so important?
The #seeyousoon campaign seeks to remind tourists why the North Coast should be at the top of your travel list once the lockdown ends by presenting visuals of some of the amazing tourism attractions with the tagline: “Unforgettable experiences await you.”
Not everyone is ready to travel yet, but by appealing to the destination’s bounty of beautiful beaches and outdoors, we can help travellers regain a sense of comfort and normalcy as they start to feel safe, overcome fears and begin seeking relief through tourism experiences.
How can locals support locals when times are tough for most people?
We need to create a culture whereby, as local residents, we come to identify ourselves as those who choose to support local, independent entrepreneurs. By doing this we also create a sense of pride within the community. There are a lot of amazing locally made products and businesses out there, we just need to be conscientious, do our homework, network, find these local gems and support them as best as we can. Besides the purchase, we should also actively spread the word to our circle of family and friends.
How can local businesses inspire and encourage other locals to visit them?
Because small businesses do not have the huge financial muscle that larger corporates usually have, it is important for them to work together, especially when it comes to boosting community awareness. For example, two businesses that have products that complement each other can collaborate on a joint marketing campaign, cross promoting. Digital platforms are great and cost effective; use social media platforms and community groups to make people aware of your product. But the most important thing is consistency when it comes to product quality and customer service.
What is the biggest challenge that the district is facing during the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 era?
The iLembe district is currently fighting the increasing rate of the coronavirus infections and has been identified as one of the hotspots. This ultimately will have a negative impact on the economy due to smaller workforces and temporary closure of businesses. The efforts of the iLembe District Command Council to coordinate activities through the various clusters to deal with the pandemic is commendable. Through the District Command Council, local municipalities have developed post-recovery strategies to deal with the various aspects that include safety, governance and social as well as economic recoveries. Local businesses also need to be commended as they are implementing all of the necessary health protocols to ensure the safety of their employees, clients and visitors. #supportlocal
The tourism sector has been hard at work putting in place the COVID-19 Tourism Industry Protocols for Operations and is ready to welcome tourists back as soon as the lockdown restrictions are lifted for leisure tourism. #seeyousoon
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