The role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in tourism policy formulation in Namibia

by Elias Paida Nyakunu

Institution: University of Johannesburg
Year: 2014
Keywords: Tourism - Namibia; Tourism - Government policy - Namibia; Small business - Namibia
Record ID: 1475760
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/10432


The significant role that SMEs play in the economic development of both developed and developing countries is acknowledged universally. In the development of policy relating to the tourism sector international organizations and tourism scholarship on collaboration and partnerships exhort governments to enter into partnerships with the private sector. One stakeholder that is often omitted is, however, the group of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Only a limited amount of work has been undertaken outside the developed world and sub-Sahara in particular, on issues relating to the involvement of SMEs in tourism policy. In this investigation, a qualitative explorative study was conducted with the aim of providing interpretative and evaluative knowledge on this phenomena. Based on purposive sampling forty key informants of various backgrounds and from different locations in Namibia participated in the study. The results of this research on Namibia contribute to the limited body of literature and knowledge concerning the participation of SMEs in the formulation of tourism policies. The study provides an analysis of the complexity of issues surrounding SME participation in policy formulation. It gives descriptions of the policy process in order to unravel the interaction between the various policy actors, their attitudes and behaviours. The major findings of the study are that in Namibia SMEs are involved in the policy process only in an ad hoc manner. Not only are they less knowledgeable about the policy process and policy content but also they are ignorant of the rules of engagement. The SMEs and interest groups respond to policy formulation as an end goal. The study recommends that SME incorporation in tourism policy formulation should be based on a number of overarching principles and approaches. It is argued SME involvement should be through consultation and empowerment. In addition, an important aspect of local empowerment is the impartation of skills and knowledge that enable SMEs to participate effectively in decision-making beginning with the local level.