Small businesses have been identified as a catalyst for creating jobs and generally growing the economy. One industry that is characterised by the proliferation of small businesses is the tourism industry. Key to this industry reaching its full potential is, however, access to markets. The Internet is seen by many as having the potential to help small tourism businesses understand their markets better, extend their market reach and to serve their customers more effectively, irrespective of their geographical location. However, identifying the factors that influence the success of the use of the Internet for marketing purposes is proving elusive. The focus of this study is to identify those owner-manager factors that are present in a small tourism business which will influence the success with which the Internet can be used to market the business. These are distinct from the factors implicit in the technology per se. If these owner-manager factors can be identified and their relative influence on Internet marketing success is determined, it will allow small tourist businesses to access markets more readily. The results of this study indicate that the level of involvement of owner-managers, the owner-manager having an entrepreneurial orientation, the knowledge of owner-managers, the involvement in decision making of owner-managers and a marketing orientation are important to the successful use of the Internet for the marketing of small tourism businesses in South Africa.


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