To cushion the effect of the COVID19 pandemic on the activities of small scale businesses in the tourism sector, the South African government said applications for the R20 million ($1.5m) KwaZulu-Natal Tourism relief fund were currently being screened and the outcome of the independent assessment would be submitted by an independent assessor.
According to iol.co.za, the Economic Development, Tourism And Environmental Affairs (Edtea) Department was providing assistance to small tourism businesses in the form of the KZN Tourism Relief Fund.
Disbursements were planned for later in the month, said Edtea MEC Ravi Pillay when he presented a report to the KZN legislature on Thursday on progress made regarding the economic recovery efforts and the plan to support localisation in the province.
It was anticipated that 400 businesses would benefit from this fund in addition to the 609 businesses that already benefited from it. Pillay said he was hopeful that the legal issues around the R1.2 billion National Equity Fund would be resolved soon.
He said with a large number of countries still blocking travel to South Africa, international tourism recovery would take a while.
“It is for this reason that our efforts have been, and continue to be, on reviving the domestic tourism market. Tourism KwaZulu-Natal has been hard at work rolling out its destination marketing campaign to encourage South Africans to travel to the province. The campaign largely contributed to tourism performance during the December and Easter seasons of 62.3% and 50% respectively,” Pillay
The focus will be on African markets through tourism trade partnerships, including airlines and tour operators.
“Internationally, we are engaging a number of trade partners to run destination training for tour operators and travel agents, directly and through collaboration with South African Tourism. On the tourism development front, we are boosting rural tourism while empowering small black-owned businesses, with a particular focus on women and youth,” Pillay added.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the adoption of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery plan (ERRP), which was a product of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) process, was a significant step towards reaching a social compact among South Africa’s social partners.
Kubayi-Ngubane said in 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020.
“The distribution of tourists by region of residence shows that 74.8% were residents of the Southern African Development Community countries and 1.5% were from ‘other’ African countries,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.