As part of government efforts to ease the financial burden of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on the local tourism sector, the Department of Tourism has launched the Covid-19 Tourism Relief Fund, aimed at small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs).
Applications open on Tuesday, April 7 and close on May 30.
Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said government had acknowledged the financial difficulties businesses are experiencing during the pandemic and encouraged all eligible businesses to apply for the fund.
“The R200-million Tourism Relief Fund provides a once-off capped grant that will assist SMMEs to ensure sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa,” she explained.
The Fund will cover R50 000 per entity and can be used towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that the tourism industry was comprised mainly of SMMEs with limited access to funding from commercial institutions and said government hoped to assure the survival of SMMEs beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
The following establishments can apply for the fund:
- Accommodation establishments – hotels; resort properties, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, lodges and backpackers.
- Hospitality and related services – restaurants (not attached to hotels).
- Conference venues (not attached to hotels), professional catering, and attractions.
- Travel and related services – tour operators, travel agents, tourist guiding, car rental companies, and coach operators.
Preference will be given to enterprises with the highest score in terms of the criteria, which serve as a pre-qualification. A panel of experts will conduct the final evaluation in terms of functionality, said Kubayi-Ngubane.
“As guided by the Tourism Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes (BBBEE) of Good Practice approved by the Minister of Trade and Industry in 2015 (in line with the BBBEE Amendment Act No. 46 of 2013), the Tourism Relief Fund is administered in line with the objectives of economic transformation, and our vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development. The disbursement of funds will ensure equitable spatial distribution in terms of provinces,” she said.
SMMEs can visit www.tourism.gov.za for more information on the Fund terms and qualifying criteria. Applications can be submitted at www.tourism.gov.za/Pages/COVID19tourismrelieffund.aspx