As the second phase of the R20 million Tourism Relief Fund officially opened on Monday, the government is calling on all tourism businesses who did not make it through the first round to submit their applications.
Distressed tourism businesses and operators in KwaZulu-Natal now have another chance to apply for financial assistance.
The Tourism Relief programme is a government-led initiative to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector.
During the first phase of the R20 million Fund, only 29 businesses out of 403 applications met the criteria for financial support, and the government paid out a total of R858,500.
The department blamed the low uptake on disqualified applications that were deemed non-compliant with the terms and conditions of the Fund.
Some of the factors that contributed to the high number of unsuccessful applicants included:
- Incorrect and incomplete information being provided;
- Lack of business registration documents, which include registration with CIPC, EDTEA and sector associations;
- Lack of compliance with tax regulations applicable to businesses; and
- Limited scope of tourism businesses eligible to apply for the relief fund.
The province is the leading tourist destination in the country.
Its success relies on tour operators, accommodation establishments, restaurants, tourist guides, attractions and other tourist offerings.
“It is essential that the value chain works in its entirety,” said Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Ravi Pillay.
The department said it can support an additional 370 businesses in this second round.
“We have therefore extended the scope of eligible businesses in order to reach as many businesses as possible,” said Pillay.
Business owners must ensure they have the required documentation and are tax compliant.
“On completion of this phase we would have reached more than 1000 tourism enterprises with some form of relief,” said Pillay.
Who is eligible?
- Hotels, Resort entities, Bed and Breakfast establishments (B&Bs).
- Restaurants including those attached to hotels provided that they have separate ownership
- Professional catering businesses.
- Tour operators, travel agents, tourist guides, car rental companies, shuttle services transporting tourists, coach operators and attractions operators
- Destination Management Companies, Professional Conference Organisers, Incentive buyers, Exhibition Companies.
- Rickshaw Operators providing carriage services to tourists along the province’s beaches.
- Arts & Craft co-operatives producing and selling arts and craft products for tourists in various tourist attractions, site centers and routes.
- Traditional performance groups entertaining tourists associated with accommodation facilities and attractions.
Criteria for tourism, hospitality and travel related businesses
- Enterprises must be officially registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and those operating as Sole Proprietors.
- The enterprise must also be registered or in the progress of registration with the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA).
- The enterprise cannot generate turnover exceeding R10 million per year prior to March 2020.
- The enterprise must be tax compliant and in possession of a valid tax clearance certificate.
- The enterprise should not have benefited from the National and provincial Tourism Relief Fund.
The once-off grant is capped at R50,000 per applicant for tourism businesses, travel agencies, conference organisers, and exhibition companies.
Arts and Crafts operators and traditional performers grants are capped at R10,000, while tour guides and Rickshaw operators are capped at R4,500 per applicant.
Applications are evaluated by an independent assessor for verification and these assessments will go before a screening committee.
Applications opened on 27 September 2021 and will close on 29 October.
Application forms are accessible online from the official TKZN, website: www.zulu.org.za
A call centre (031 816 6610) has also been set up. Th recall centre is operational between 8 am and 16:30 from Monday to Friday.
(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)