Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs)
THE DEPARTMENT of Tourism on Tuesday encouraged eligible businesses to apply for the R200 million Covid-19 Tourism Relief Fund, which will be taking applications until the end of May.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the fund was established as an intervention to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector.
The fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to ensure sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb Covid-19 in South Africa.
“We acknowledge the difficulties experienced by businesses during this time, hence the need to support the industry and communities to cope with the negative effects of this pandemic,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
“Our tourism industry is comprised of mainly SMMEs, most of which are survivalists in nature, with limited access to funding from commercial institutions. We hope the support offered through the Tourism Relief Fund will assure the continued survival of SMMEs beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Capped at R50 000 per entity, the funding can be utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items.
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.
Guided by the Tourism Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practices approved by the Minister of Trade and Industry in 2015 (in line with the B-BBEE Amendment Act No. 46 of 2013), Kubayi-Ngubane said the fund was administered in line with the objectives of economic transformation, and the vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development.
“The disbursement of funds will ensure equitable spatial distribution in terms of provinces,” she said.
Categories eligible to apply for the fund include the following:
– Accommodation establishments: hotels; resort properties; bed and breakfast (B&B); 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; coach operators.
Stakeholders in the sectors are encouraged to visit the department’s website www.tourism.gov.za for comprehensive information on the fund terms and qualifying criteria.
SMMEs can submit funding applications by completing a form accessible online at www.tourismrelief.gov.za.
On Monday, the Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, announced that the Covid-19 death toll in South Africa had increased to 12, while the number of confirmed infections in the country stood at 1 686.
South Africa is halfway through its stringent 21-day lockdown.
– African News Agency