File picture: Independent Media
File picture: Independent Media

Second phase of KZN tourism relief fund opens for applications

By Mercury Reporter Time of article published Sep 27, 2021

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DURBAN - THE second phase of the R20 million Tourism Relief Fund opened for applications from distressed tourism businesses and operators in KwaZulu-Natal today.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal said together with the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea), it will work closely with Community Tourism Organisations and tourism formations to ensure that as many as possible qualifying tourism businesses facing distress are supported.

Tourism KZN said in a statement that the first phase of the R20m Fund saw only a total of R858 500 being disbursed to support 29 qualifying tourism businesses and tour guides.

It said this low uptake was as a result of many applicants being disqualified due to non-compliance 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.

It said given the low number of successful applicants and the fact that there was still budget available for the tourism relief fund, Edtea decided that a second intake of applications should be considered under revised selection criteria to accommodate more tourism businesses.

The Tourism Relief programme forms part of government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector.

“Through this fund we hope to assist businesses to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, prevent job losses and get them back towards a path of stability. KwaZulu-Natal is a leading tourist destination whose success relies on a thriving sector that includes tour operators, accommodation establishments, restaurants, tourist guides, attractions and other tourist offerings. It is essential that the value chain works in its entirety,” said Ravi Pillay, KZN Edtea MEC.

“During the first phase of the Relief Fund, we received 403 applications but only 29 met the requirements. With this phase of funding, we are hoping to support a further 370 businesses and we have therefore extended the scope of eligible businesses in order to reach as many businesses as possible. We would like to encourage business owners who will be applying for funds to make sure that they attach the required documentation to their applications. They must also ensure that their businesses meet the necessary tax requirements, and most importantly avoid submitting incorrect and incomplete information,” Pillay said.

Businesses and entities operating from and within the province that are eligible to apply for the tourism relief include:

– Accommodation establishments: Hotels, resort entities, bed and breakfast establishments (B&Bs).

– Hospitality and related services: Restaurants including those attached to hotels provided that they have separate ownership to hotels; all conference venues including those attached to hotels provided that they have separate ownership to hotels; professional catering businesses.

– Travel and related services: Tour operators, travel agents, tourist guides, car rental companies, shuttle services transporting tourists, coach operators and attractions operators

– MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) sub-sector: 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 centres and routes.

– Traditional performance groups entertaining tourists associated with accommodation facilities and attractions.

Applications opened yesterday (September 27) and close on October 29, and application forms are accessible online from the official TKZN , website: www.zulu.org.za

A call centre has been set up to guide and provide information to applicants. For enquiries, contact the call centre: [email protected] or 031 816 6610.

THE MERCURY

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