Patricia de Lille, Minister of Tourism, has encouraged the tourism sector to apply for its Tourism Incentive Programme aimed at stimulating the growth, development, and transformation of the South African tourism industry.
Speaking at the Township and Village Tourism Expo hosted by the SA Township and Village Tourism Organisation (SATOVITO at the Cradle of Humankind, Morapeng, she said that through these incentives, the department aims to transform and achieve accelerated growth in the tourism sector.
“This in turn contributes to the achievement of the department’s objectives to stimulate enterprise growth, job creation, revenue growth and an enhanced visitor experience,” she said.
De Lille highlighted the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) approved by Cabinet for implementation in September 2023.
“Applications for the R1.2billion TEF opened on 6 November 2023, and is administered and implemented by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) on behalf of the Department.
“With the TEF, the Department aims to stimulate more inclusive participation and transformation in the tourism sector in line with the targets of the Tourism B-BBEE Sector Codes, and address some of the funding challenges faced by tourism enterprises.”
She said the TEF offers a combination of grant funding, debt at concessionary rates and senior debt through sefa and other recognised commercial financial institutions to prospective applicants for start-ups, acquisitions, expansion and development projects in the Accommodation, Hospitality, Travel and related services subsectors.
“The maximum grant receivable is limited to 35% of the required funding capped at R20 million per transaction. I encourage businesses here today to find more information on sefa’s website, and sefa will be presenting and sharing more information on the TEF here today,” she said.
De Lille named the Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP) as another programme to which businesses can apply for funding.
“The 9th application window for GTIP funding opens today until 31 March 2024, and for this financial year, the Department has set aside just under R200million to support tourism businesses to go green by installing water and energy saving measures at their businesses.
“The development of GTIP was informed by escalating electricity prices, the intensifying pressure on the national energy grid and negative impacts of load-shedding as well as water scarcity and drought conditions which negatively impact the tourism sector.
“The GTIP was established to encourage private sector tourism enterprises to move towards the installation of solutions for the sustainable management and usage of electricity and water resources.
“The GTIP not only reduces pressure on the national electricity grid and water resources of the country, but also ensures an uninterrupted visitor experience for tourists; it also reduces input costs, and facilitates increased competitiveness and operational sustainability.
“The GTIP offers partial grant funding support of between 50% to 90% up to R1 million on the cost of retrofitting tourism facilities with energy and water efficiency equipment and systems based on the outcome of a resource efficiency audit.”
The programme is administered through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and all applications need to be submitted to the IDC during defined application windows.
“I want to implore and encourage businesses especially in villages and townships to apply for this funding. Tourism businesses can go green and off the grid by installing solutions like rainwater harvesting systems or PV panels and ensure that loadshedding does not interrupt your business operations or your guest’s experience,” said De Lille.
The GTIP has so far supported more than 173 tourism businesses with green retrofitting with a grant value of over R109million disbursed by the department to these successful applicants.