R200m COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund for SMMEs now open for applications

Mmamokolo Kubayi-Ngubane. Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

The R200 million COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund established to assist small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) is now open for applications, the Department of Tourism has announced.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Department said the Fund will provide a once-off grant to eligible SMMEs in the tourism sector impacted by COVID-19 disruptions.

The funding will be capped at R50,000 per SMME and preference will be given to those “with the highest score in terms of the criteria,” the Department said.

Eligible categories

It added that the Fund will adhere to the Tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBE) Codes of Good Practices, objectives of economic transformation, and equitable spatial distribution in terms of provinces. SMMEs in the following categories are eligible for funding:

Accommodation establishments: hotels, resort properties, Bed and Breakfast (B&Bs), 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, care rental services, and coach operators.

SMMEs can apply online

The Department urged applicants to visit its website – http://www.tourism.gov.za – for more information on fund terms and qualifying criteria.

SMMEs can submit applications at http://www.tourismrelief.gov.za or direct further inquiries to callcentre@tourism.gov.za or covidrelief@tourism.gov.za.

Alternatively, SMMEs can call the Department’s call centre at 0860 TOURISM (868 747) on weekdays from 08:00 to 22:00.

Tourism Minister Mmamokolo Kubayi-Ngubane said SMMEs in the tourism sector are mostly “survivalist” in nature and have limited access to funding from commercial institutions.

“We acknowledge the difficulties experienced by businesses during this time, hence the need to support the industries and communities to cope with the negative effects of this pandemic,” she added.

The Department of Small Business Development has also established a R500m SMME Support Intervention, which consists of a Business Growth/Resilience Facility and a Debt Relief Fund.

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