Tourism sector to receive R3bn rejuvenation to help it recover from Covid-19
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JOHANNESBURG - THE TOURISM sector is set to receive financial rejuvenation of almost R3 billion in the 2021/22 financial year to recover from the impact of Covid-19 on its operations.
Tourism Minster Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane yesterday said during her department’s budget vote speech that the funding would be implemented through several initiatives, some of which have already been launched.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (TSRP), Destination Development Programme, Tourism Transformation Fund, Tourism Equity Fund and the Incubation Programme to support youth-owned small, medium and micro tourism enterprises would put money into the hands of tourism stakeholders to aid the recovery of the sector.
“From the time of level 5 hard lockdown last year, the road to recovery for the tourism sector has been a rocky one,” Kubayi-Ngubane said. “It has been characterised by stops and starts in accordance with the waves of the pandemic. However, we are pleased to report that despite all the difficulties, the recovery has been on an upward trajectory. Our programmes and efforts in this financial year are aimed at sustaining this trajectory.”
Kubayi-Ngubane said the TSRP, anchored on protecting and rejuvenating supply, reigniting demand and strengthening enabling capability for long-term sustainability, had an allocation of about R2.5bn for 2021/22, of which R1.297bn was for transfers to South African Tourism.
“The main focus of our programmes in this financial year will be on the implementation of the TSRP,” she said.
“Our total infrastructure commitment is just under R700 million over a five-year period. To date, an amount of R270m of the funds has been made available to the Development Bank of Southern Africa, who serves as the implementing agent for the department’s infrastructure programme.”
Kubayi-Ngubane said a further R270m had been budgeted for this financial year.
She said the Destination Development Programme would continue with the implementation of a maintenance programme of state-owned tourism infrastructure assets to protect and rejuvenate tourism supply in the medium term.
She pointed out that the focus of this work was on improving and upgrading sites of heritage significance, including liberation heritage, national parks, botanical gardens, and rural and township precincts.
“To this end, we have prioritised the implementation of just over 100 tourism infrastructure initiatives across the country with a further 30 community-based projects,” she said. “This work is largely funded through our Working for Tourism Expanded Public Works Programme.”
Kubayi-Ngubane said while some success has been recorded in the implementation of the Tourism Transformation Fund, which is administered in partnership with the National Empowerment Fund, it would be restructured in response to the feedback received from entrepreneurs.
The fund, capitalised to the tune of R77m from an initial R120m after about R43m of successful applications, would be redesigned to be more efficient and more accessible to entrepreneurs.