Cape Town- Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Wednesday said the Tourism Department would continue to implement the tourism sector recovery plan to focus on inclusivity and transformation.
Delivering her speech during the budget debate on her department, Sisulu said there were thousands of SMMEs throughout townships, rural areas and small dorpies offering authentic creative experiences throughout our tourism value chain.
“These SMMEs are crucial for our goal of inclusive sustainable tourism and help spread the benefits of tourism to communities outside the traditional tourism ‘hotspots’.”
Sisulu said they will continue to implement the Tourism Incentive Programme to stimulate the growth, development and transformation of the South African tourism sector.
“In line with our mission to employ strategic partnerships we will continue to collaborate with other government departments and entities in the roll out of the incentive programme.
“In this regard, formal partnerships through memoranda of agreement are already in place with entities such as the National Empowerment Fund, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency,” the minister said.
Sisulu also said under the Tourism Incentive Programme, they would implement the Market Access Support Programme (offering partial financial support to qualifying small tourism enterprises to participate and exhibit at selected tourism marketing platforms.
“We have already seen various trade shows return following the lock-down conditions globally which resulted in most international tourism trade platforms being cancelled.”
She said they were working to have the legal matters delaying the implementation of the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) resolved.
The fund, intended to fast-track transformation, provides a combination of debt finance and grants to facilitate equity acquisition and new project development in the tourism sector by black entrepreneurs.
“We will continue to work with interested parties to resolve this matter. We have no doubt that the sector shares our eagerness to see this matter resolved considering the number of applications received after the fund was launched,” she said.
Sisulu also said the department will implement the Women in Tourism Programme as a platform to drive initiatives that support the development and empowerment of women in the tourism sector. “This platform recognises the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs who are often found at the bottom end of the tourism economic value chain.”
The minister also said they were encouraged by estimates from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation that global tourism experienced a 4% upturn in 2021, compared to 2020.