Get All Access for $5/mo

Example of Tourism Business Ideas Do you love showing travellers the unique and interesting aspects of South Africa? Tourism could be the industry for you. Before you get started here are some lessons from current businesses you can incorporate into your start-up.

By Nicole Crampton

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Since South Africa is known for its natural beauty, tourism will always hold numerous business opportunities, especially if you live in a popular tourist destination. Your business can offer everything from tours to accommodation and experiences.

Here are 10 examples of tourism businesses you can gain insights from before launching your own business:

1. Walking Tours

Do you love to explore your city on foot? Do you know all the hidden gems and interesting pieces of history? You could offer walking tours to tourists who want to genuinely experience this country.

Before you start mapping out your route, here is an example of this tourism business idea that can offer you insights into this industry:

Business Name: Walk & Talk Tours CC


Established Date: 1999

About the business:

Walk & Talk Tours CC aims to combine the pleasurable and therapeutic act of walking and talking. They want to introduce South Africa to not only tourists but also to South Africans, educating their clients about interesting areas of the country they wouldn't normally visit.

Innovative business offering

In addition to their walking tours, Walk & Talk Tours CC have a patented self-guiding system. This allows anyone to visit an area and gain information, tours, commentary, videos, pictures, apps and the history of the area.

2. Airbnb Rentals

Airbnb is a marketplace where you can rent out your spare room, or even your entire apartment or house. It caters to travellers looking for cheaper more interesting accommodation. Before you register your house on the platform, here is an example of an Airbnb host who you can learn from:

Business Name: Brigid Prinsloo


Established Date: 2013

About the business:

Brigid Prinsloo rented her spare room out on Airbnb. She started out with a very lean approach. At the end of that first month they had earned close to R10 000 renting the room out.

Related: 25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

She purchased two more properties one with her fiancé and the other with her father and sister, which they also listed on Airbnb.

Innovative business offering

You'll need to create an experience for your guest. The better the experience the better the rating you'll get and the more customers you'll continue to attract.

3. Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb Experiences are unusual and engaging activities that you can offer through the Airbnb marketplace for travellers coming to your area. Experiences go above and beyond regular tours by immersing guests in a unique activity.

If you have something you can teach or guide visitors through, this could be the tourism business idea for you. Before you launch your start-up, here is an example of a tourist business you can learn from:

Business Name: Carving Cape's Single-track with a Pro


About the business:

Paris Basson has over 25 years in the sports industry. He has raced all disciplines from Road, MTB, CX, Enduro and Triathlon's. He offers a once in a life time experience biking through the Table Mountain National Park, offering an adrenaline packed adventure and views of the Cape like no other.

Innovative business offering

Paris Basson has such an in-depth knowledge of the area and which routes suit the various experience levels of his clients that he can custom make a route to ensure every customer has the best experience.

4. Local Cuisine Cooking Class

Do you love to cook local food? Do you enjoy teaching others how to make interesting and unique meals? This could be the tourism business idea for you. Before you start cooking, here is an example of a tourism business you can gain insights from:

Business Name: Sazón Cooking School


About the business:

Sazón Cooking School is hosted in a magnificent 18th- century mansion. Here their guests can study the bold flavours and rich history of regional culinary Mexican favourites. They also offer to teach their guests techniques to creating these flavourful dishes.

Innovative business offering

In addition to the cooking class Sazón is based in a heritage hotel offering its clients accommodation in the Mexican heartlands. They also offer market tours and classes to help their customers navigate the colourful and vibrant San Miguel Market.

5. Souvenir Shop

Do you love making something uniquely South African or African? Then this could be the tourism business idea for you. Here is an example:

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

Souvenir shops offer visitors locally inspired gifts they can take home to remember their experience. You can open one to ensure visitors always remember their incredible stay in South Africa.

Business Name: A Place To Shop


About the business:

A Place To Shop offers fun and quirky South African and African souvenirs for both locals and travellers. They offer international delivery for those looking to purchase something African from across the ocean.

Innovative business offering

Some of their products are available for resell, this would increase their profits and ensure their products reached a larger audience.

6. An Airbnb Management Company

For people who have started listing multiple rentals, managing them can be quite a task, which is where Airbnb Management Companies came from. These tourism businesses assist with the day-to-day renting out of spaces on Airbnb.

Before you start advertising your services, here is an example of a business you can learn a few tricks from:

Business Name: Superhost South Africa


Established Date: 2015

About the business:

Superhost South Africa is a full-service Airbnb property manager, they deal with the daily logistics and are on call 24/7 in case of emergencies. They offer everything from setting up their clients initial Airbnb profile to cleaning once the guest has left.

Innovative business offering

In addition, Superhost South Africa also offers ongoing optimisation to continually improve their client's listings, its profile and the service they deliver.

7. Fashion Mini-bar

In hotels across the world you typically get mini-bars that offer alcohol, cool drinks and snacks. But you could also offer a Mini Fashion bar; which visitors can pay for when checking out.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

This ensures that those on a busy trip can still get some shopping done even if they never leave their hotel room. Before you start phoning hotels, here is an example of this business you can gain some insights from:

Business Name: Pimkie


About the business:

French clothing brand, Pimkie created a boutique bar filled with clothes and accessories to assist travellers in finding new clothing items and accessories to wear, particularly if they've forgotten to pack something.

Innovative business offering

Travellers can rent or buy the pieces they need and simple pay for them on check out. Guests can even call the Fashion concierge to source an item in their size.

8. Translators

Do you speak multiple languages? Then this could be the tourism business idea for you. You can help foreign tourists navigate South Africa by translating for them. Before you launch your start-up, here is an example of a tourism business you can learn strategies from:

Business Name: Language Connect


About the business:

Language Connect helps their clients to communicate seamlessly with their foreign guests and ensures the personal touch by offering services in multiple languages.

Innovative business offering

In addition, they also offer to translate their client's website, promotional videos, email campaigns, telephone message systems, advertising, brochures, menus, stationery and amenities into numerous languages.

9. Cultural/Heritage Tours

Do you have a vast knowledge of the culture and heritage in your area? Could you lead a cultural/heritage tour group? Then this could be the tourism business idea for you.

Related: Your Free Business Idea Evaluation SWOT Analysis Template

Here is an example of a tourism business that you can learn from before you start your business:

Business Name: Kruger National Park


Established Date: 1926

About the business:

Kruger National Park is home to numerous historical locations and prehistoric rock art giving it a rich cultural heritage. They offer cultural tours for guests wanting to see restored villages and learn about the inhabitants' way of life.

Innovative business offering

In addition, the Kruger National Park is South Africa's most exciting African safari destination. They have a variety of safari tour options and can take their guests on a journey of exploration to find Africa's Big Five.

10. "Takeaway' Hotel Rooms

If you are good at building and designing rooms, you can create mini hotel rooms using shipping containers and plant them where ever your guests want to stay. Before you start purchasing containers, here is a tourism business that you can gain insights from:

Business Name: Scandic To Go


Established Date: 2014

About the business:

The Scandic To Go rooms are 18 sqm and offer all the amenities of a traditional hotel room, except that it can be moved to any pre-selected destinations. This allows a unique and one-of-a-kind experience for their guests.

Innovative business offering

In addition to offering the Scandic To Go rooms, they are a high-quality hotel brand that operates predominately in the Scandinavian countries, but also in Germany.

Related: A Free Business Plan Example to Launch Your South African Business

Nicole Crampton

Entrepreneur Staff

Sales Enablement - Content Developer

Nicole Crampton is an SEO specialist who contributes to She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa and has continued her studies with a Creative Writing degree from UNISA. Nicole has completed several courses in writing and online marketing, and continues to hone her skills and expertise in digital media, digital marketing and content creation.

Business News

How to Be a Billionaire By 25, According to a College Dropout Turned CEO Worth $1.6 Billion

Austin Russell became the world's youngest self-made billionaire in 2020 at age 25.

Starting a Business

3 Things to Consider Before Your Perfect Business Partner Becomes Your Perfect Disaster

There are many reasons for start-up businesses' high failure rate, including lack of cash, not doing enough research and poor marketing. But this one reason is definitely not getting enough attention.


10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

Remarkable stories about local entrepreneurs who built big businesses and well-known brands up from humble beginnings.