R600m plan to help SA grow its tourism sector
A series of new incentives to help tourism establishments grow their businesses and to improve South Africa’s tourism attractions were announced by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The investment of around R600-million will help establishments to become graded and seek new markets for their products, and will later include retrofitting key with renewable energy sources. South Africa’s tourism sector had performed very well in the past two decades, Hanekom said.
“The pace of growth in the tourism sector has outstripped the growth in the overall economy significantly. We are now well positioned to do more, to continue growing, and to transform the sector by making it more inclusive and sustainable.
“It is estimated that tourism supports 1.4-million direct and indirect jobs and contributes 9.5% of South Africa’s total Gross Domestic Product. ”
“Tourism has enormous transformative power,” Hanekom said. “Tourism has a very strong multiplier effect on host communities and has a supply chain that extends deep into the economy.”The Tourism Incentive Programme represents an investment of R557-million over the medium term to support tourism enterprises to reach their full potential, Hanekom said.
The programme will put tourism businesses in a better position to make sustainable contributions to the growth of the industry and to the country’s economy, making South Africa a more competitive global destination, Hanekom said.
The programme will start by focusing on creating better access to new markets and customers, encouraging greater participation in the grading system, and making catalytic investments in key tourist attractions.The programme comprises:
- A subsidy towards the costs incurred by tourism establishments to participate in trade exhibitions and marketing roadshows. This will include a capped reimbursement towards pre-determined expenses such as airfare, accommodation and exhibition fees for participation in marketing platforms supported by South African Tourism.
- Support for owners of establishments who want to be graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa in the form of a structured system of retroactive discounts or rebates on the assessment fee for grading. This aims to make grading more affordable for smaller businesses, and encourage more establishments to become graded.
- A pilot project to retrofit facilities at state-owned destinations and attractions such as World Heritage sites and National Botanical Gardens with renewable energy technology. This will guide the design of a programme to help make establishments, including those in the private sector, more environmentally sustainable.
The Tourism Incentive Programme supports the objectives of South Africa’s overall industrial policy, which includes creating jobs, building the local industrial base and transforming to a green economy.
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