April 21, 2020

South Africa’s new relief fund for restaurants and hotels will be guided by BEE: minister

The Department of Tourism has launched the new Covid-19 Tourism Relief Fund to assist businesses in the tourism sector that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said that the application period for the fund will run from 7 April to 30 May 2020.

The R200 million Tourism Relief 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 the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa, she said.

She added that the fund will be administered in line with the objectives of economic transformation and will be guided by the tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) codes of good practices.

“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 minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko 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 grant 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.

Categories eligible to apply for the Tourism Relief Fund include the following:

  • Accommodation establishments: hotels; resort properties; bed and breakfast (B&B’s); guesthouses; 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.

Those interested in applying can visit the Department of  Tourism’s website for further information on the fund terms and qualifying criteria.  SMMEs can submit funding applications by completing a form accessible online here.