Business & Economy

Thursday, 08 August 2019 13:00

With Women’s Month in full swing, RIIS and their Batswana partners, BITRI and Brynston Creations, have launched the SAIS open innovation tourism challenge, which aims to empower women in the SADC region

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  • Currently, tourism in Southern Africa is dominated by giant monopolies that do not capture the essence of Africa; nor do they work with locals to ensure sustainability of the industry;
  • The SAIS challenge focusses on boosting entrepreneurship and sustainable income opportunities in the tourism industry in Southern Africa;
  • Opportunities to be addressed are empowering women in tourism, lowering the prevailing 80/20 tourism-spend ratio between large and small tourism players, and recreating “Brand Africa”. 

Johannesburg, 8 August 2019 – Coinciding with Women’s Month, the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS),along with their Batswana partners; The Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation (BITRI) and Brynston Creations, launched their SAIS open innovation tourism challenge aimed at empowering women in tourism, while also focussing on lowering the prevailing 80/20 tourism-spend ratio between large and small tourism players, and recreating “Brand Africa”.

The challenge aims to increase the confidence of women in the workplace while providing business models that ensure the safety of all female staff in the tourism sector. Particular attention is also being paid to including women in rural areas and empowering disabled women in the industry. 

When asked about the challenge, RIIS Executive Clen Cook said: “There’s a lot of boxes that need to be ticked in this challenge. We want to mould the tourism industry into a sector that uplifts women and provides them with an equal opportunity to earn a sustainable income. By creating a landscape in which gender diversification is possible, we will hopefully ultimately see an increased female ownership of tourism facilities.”

More information around this latest initiative can be found on

Contact: Alana Kruger

Project Manager

Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) 

Switchboard: +27 12 012 5015

Cell: +27 72 607 0332

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability – RIIS

We believe that long term sustainability can only be achieved through improvements and radical changes in the way that both business and society innovate. Innovation has traditionally been managed completely inside organisations – but this is no longer an effective or efficient way to source, acquire, develop and commercialise knowledge. Our work focuses on three areas:  developing foresight about how society and technology will change;  how those changes impact on organisations and society; and  how to effectively manage those changes through professional innovation management

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