Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the funds were aimed at assisting small and micro black-owned tourism enterprises to expand and grow.
MINISTER of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu has called on the youth, women, people with disabilities and people in rural and small towns to apply for the Tourism Transformation Fund (TTF) and the Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP) offerings, which opened on Friday.
The minister made the call after a virtual meeting with stakeholders in the tourism sector. She said the funds were aimed at assisting small and micro black-owned tourism enterprises to expand and grow, thereby creating a new generation of black-owned tourism enterprises, and for them to install smart technology to manage the ecological footprint of their operations through energy and water efficiency programmes.
Sisulu added that these funding mechanisms were aligned to the objectives of elevating inclusive growth and transformation as fundamental drivers of the tourism sector.
“As the tourism sector progressively works towards recovery, it is evident that there will be a greater demand for new and diverse tourism offerings,” she said.
The TTF provides a combination of grant funding capped at 50% of the total funding from the department and debt financing or equity contributions from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF). It is limited to to a maximum of R5 million per eligible applicant towards capital investments for both greenfield and expansion to drive transformation in the sector.
“As we continue to contribute to global efforts to reduce the impact of our business on the environment through the Green Tourism Incentive Programme, we believe it will go a long way in driving responsible tourism by supporting enterprises to reduce the cost in energy and water, with grant funding to qualifying small and micro enterprises on a sliding scale of up to 90% of the total cost of implementing the water and energy resource efficiency interventions, capped at R1 million,” said the minister.
“Through the implementation of the TTF and the GTIP, we envision creating a sector that is inclusive and sustainable, creating a pathway for new entrants to implement innovative businesses that make tourism thrive and I encourage all enterprises, especially youth and women owned businesses, to apply for both initiatives and work with government to contribute towards transforming our sector and upholding responsible tourism practices.”
Following the waiver of the 2020/21 grading fees as part of the sectoral relief measures, the minister will in the next few days make announcements on the further relaxation of the grading fees for the 2021 to 2022 financial period.
She said that as her department constantly identifies measures to support the sector, these incentives will require that establishments embrace safety norms and standards and maintain the same standards of service excellence as underwritten by a time-test tourism star grading system as the department was rebuilding visitors’ confidence in the country as a tourism destination.