COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal 

Department of Tourism Relief Fund: What is it and who qualifies?

The Department has made R200 million available to assist SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the restrictions placed on travel. The Department has specified that funding is capped at R50,000 for each individual entity who is awarded funding through this scheme. On 30 May the Department also announced that a further R30 million will be made available to assist tour guides during lockdown.

4.1. What type of businesses qualifies for assistance?

Travel agents and tour operators qualify. Here is the full list of businesses mentioned in the formal statement.

  • Accommodation: Hotels, resort properties and B&B’s.
  • Hospitality and Related Services: Restaurants (not attached to hotels), conference (not attached to hotels), professional catering, attractions.
  • Travel and Related Services: Tour operators, travel agents, tourist guides, car rental companies and coach operators.

From the rest of the statement, it looks like the fund is available for businesses who fall under the Tourism B-BBEE Sector Code. The full list is in section 9.

4.2. What are the other criteria?

The business must also meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a formally registered business with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC),
  • turnover must not exceed R2.5 million per year,
  • must have a valid tax clearance certificate,
  • guaranteed employment for a minimum number of staff for a period of 3 months,
  • proof of minimum wage compliance,
  • must provide proof of UIF registration for employees employed by the business,
  • be an existing tourism-specific establishment as outline in the scope of application (suppliers and intermediaries are not eligible),

We are not sure what the Department of Tourism meant by this. We can only assume that they are referring to the scope of application section in the Tourism B-BBEE Sector Code. Don’t worry to much about this, travel agents are covered.

  • must be in existence for at least one business financial year,
  • prove that the relief is required as a result of the impact of COVID-19,

This should not be difficult given the travel restrictions. We think that what they mean is that the business must otherwise have been in good financial health.

  • must submit statements of financial position, including over 12 months’ bank statement, balance sheet, income statements, cash flow statements,
  • indicate the intended use of the resources.

4.3. How do you apply?

  • Applications are now open on the Department of Tourism’s website.
  • You can apply online here.

4.4. Funding for tourist guides

On 30 May the Department announced that they are making a further R30 million available as financial relief for tourist guides during lockdown. The beneficiaries of this scheme include tour guides who are registered in terms of the Tourism Act, freelancers and independent contractors.

Tour guides do not have to apply. The Department will source information from the databases maintained by the Provincial Registrars of Tourist Guides in all nine provinces.

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