A new $273,716 Growth for Jobs Tourism Challenge Fund seeks to grow South Africa’s tourism numbers by engaging SMEs.
- The fund will support regional and local tourism organisations, industry associations, and district and local authorities
- The target SMEs are expected to grow and expand their tourism product offerings.
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South Africa has lined up a $273,716 fund to empower small businesses in the tourism sector to enhance their offerings. The $273,716 Growth for Jobs Tourism Challenge Fund will grow South Africa’s tourism numbers through local small businesses.
Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities Mireille Wenger said the fund will power the sector’s future growth by removing barriers.
“Our tourism and hospitality sector was hit hard by the COVID pandemic. But, it has seen a remarkable recovery with international arrivals reaching 100 percent of their 2019 figures in February this year,” she noted.
Wenger added that this would be achieved by helping to support small businesses to add new and exciting experiences. Further, the financing will be invested in infrastructure to unlock SMEs success.
“An important aspect of this fund is that it challenges the tourism ecosystem to co-invest as partners, to ensure that we get maximum impact with the resources we have available. Partnering with the private sector is essential if we are to achieve higher levels of economic growth in the province,” she said.
She called upon organisations implementing tourism development projects to seek the financing. Also targeted are programmes under Tourism Infrastructure Support and Tourism Product Development Support.
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The region’s funding needs
According to Wenger, the first category of the fund will go towards supporting regional and local tourism organisations. The money will also finance industry associations, district and local authorities to enhance high volume tourism attractions. Further, through tourism infrastructure, upgrades the minister believes this will trigger the sector’s recovery.
“Tourism infrastructure upgrade means the enhancement or development of any existing or new infrastructure required to ensure that tourists can visit attractions and experiences in a safe, clean, comfortable and accessible manner. Examples of tourism infrastructure include trails, walkways, signage, street furniture, public lighting, public toilets, shelters, hides and more,” she stated.
The second category of the support will go towards assisting SMEs with tourism product development. In particular, the funds will providing finances to enhance or expand collaborative programmes and projects in the industry.
“This includes product/and/or experience development, helping with access to funders, marketing and branding. Provision of bespoke support such as machinery, equipment, licenses, and accreditation to name a few. The fund will prioritise private sector initiatives aimed at stimulating high yield forms of tourism including in Halal, adventure, gastronomy, heritage and sustainable tourism,” Wenger explained.
Interested businesses/organisations have until Monday, 22 May 2023, at midnight to submit their online applications.
Tourism recovery in the Western Cape
In April, the Western Cape government announced that tourism figures showing recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the month under review, most international visitors to South Africa moved in the Mother City’s international airport. She added that the domestic market has also indicated a strong showing of above 70 percent.
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“I am thrilled to confirm that international two-way passengers through Cape Town International Airport reached 258,970 in February 2023, representing a full recovery when compared to 2019, reaching 100 percent. In February 2023, Cape Town recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals from overseas markets (93,720) out of the country’s three key airports; Cape Town International Airport, OR Tambo and King Shaka. Domestic two-way passengers passing through CTIA during February 2023 reached 507,787, representing a recovery of 72 percent compared to February 2019.”