Everywhere in the world, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are becoming the pillars of economic growth and development. New venture start-ups are a vital contributing factor for any economy as well as to the tourism industry. It creates employment opportunities, involves many stakeholders and contributes to sustainable development. This exploratory research sought to investigate the barriers and constraints facing tourism entrepreneurs. It focuses on the perceptions of tourism entrepreneurs in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Survey research was used to gather data for the study by questionnaires distributed to entrepreneurs in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces. The literature study reviews the history of tourism, the role of the Government and their involvement in tourism. Other role players in tourism are also considered. The structure of tourism in South Africa, functions and initiatives of various role players as well as policy regarding tourism are discussed. The national tourism targets and size are analysed including national and international tourism forecasts. The study investigates opportunities that exist in tourism. Furthermore, it reviews concepts regarding entrepreneurship, small, medium and micro enterprises and the link between entrepreneurship and tourism. Clear problems, barriers and constraints facing tourism entrepreneurs are identified through factor analysis. The three major factors include Government policies and support, the tourism industry’s products and services and perceptions about South Africa. The item analyses that were conducted support the findings of the factor analysis. Possible limitations of the study and further areas for research are identified. Various recommendations are made to guide current and prospective tourism entrepreneurs. The research will not only be of value to entrepreneurs, small, medium and micro enterprises, but also to the tourism industry. Sustainable tourism development in South Africa can only be achieved through recognition that the Government, the public and the private sector, host communities and the natural environment are interdependent stakeholders in a complex tourism domain. No single individual, agency or group can resolve tourism issues by acting alone. The problems, barriers and constraints that tourism entrepreneurs face can only be rectified if all role players in tourism work together to reduce the impact of these problems, barriers and constraints.