COVID-19 and the tourism industry – 2 Support Funds you need to know
Lockdown. On day 4, it is a word we are still coming to terms with, following the Presidential announcement on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on the 23rd of March 2020. While people were in panic stations rushing to buy and stockpile groceries. SMME businesses sat back in shock as to how this will affect their businesses, especially in the travel and tourism industry.
Go4IT Africa CEO, James Elstob’s take: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions within the tourism industry, with many companies potentiality closing down causing major sector job losses. This is a very sad reality and an event that is going to leave a legacy on our industry for some time to come. The industry needs to work together to take stock, provide support to smaller business and rebuild for the future world of travel and experience, post social distancing and lock-down.” Looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel, or the “lockdown” keyhole. The department of Tourism has made R200 Million available to support SMMES in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Along with this fund, specifically catering to the tourism industry, there will also be a fund dedicated to SMMEs. The South African government has stated that they are “committed to seeing the sector being able to pick up the pieces post COVID-19”. The government has also mentioned that this fund will be distributed across all of South Africa’s 9 provinces and tourism sectors. Tourism and Hospitality Fund The South African Department of Tourism has stated that the following sectors can apply: Travel and similar services, which includes tour operators, travel agents; Tour guides; car rental companies and coach operators. Accommodation, that includes hotels, resort
s and B&B’s. Hospitality and related services, including restaurants (that are not attached to hotels); conference centres (not attached to hotels), and attractions and catering services. Qualifying criteria, as stated by the South African Government: Must be a formally registered business with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Turnover must not exceed R2.5 million per year. Must have a valid tax clearance certificate. Guaranteed employment for a minimum number of staff for a period of 3 months. Proof of minimum wage compliance. Must provide proof of UIF registration for employees employed by the business. Be an existing tourism-specific establishment as outline in the scope of application (suppliers and intermediaries are not eligible). Must be in existence for at least one business financial year. Prove that relief is required as a result of the impact of COVID-19. Must submit statements of financial position; over 12 months’ bank statement, balance sheet, income statements, cash flow statements. Indicate the intended use of the resources. SMME Business fund With the announcement, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned that there would also be an SMME Business fund that will assist SMME enterprises in danger. The Department of Small Business Development has made over R500 million, which will be available immediately. Businesses can apply for assistance through a very easily accessible application process. The website is available here.
James Elstob says that “The silver lining that may come out of this, is a massive wake up call to the industry to embrace the new digital era. Especially here in Africa, where we are still doing most of our business in brick and mortar infrastructure with cumbersome manual quoting processes, all relying on old legacy B2B networks to get our products to market. I am hoping that our industry can take this forced time
out to do a spring clean and rethink business and adopt the new age of digital travel practices.”
Although the COVID-19 Outbreak has literally caused a shutdown, there is definitely a silver lining. With the support of funding, and the general support of South Africans. The travel and tourism industry will make it out of the lockdown to pick up the pieces and build up our world-class tourism industry again. Although the COVID-19 Outbreak has literally caused a shutdown, there is definitely a silver lining. With funding and the general support of South Africans, the travel and tourism industry will make it out of the lockdown to pick up the pieces and build up our world-class tourism industry again. As part of the Go4IT Africa stable – Go4IT will continue to build eCommerce platforms that enable smart business interactions & seamless customer experiences. Real-time online bookings, payments and calendars functionality facilitate efficient business administration. This increases the number of clients who can be serviced, along with a great customer experience, which naturally leads to an increase in sales. We will continue to reach out to Tour operators and Travel companies for one-day trips, experiences, and activities to become the world’s largest wholesaler of experiences and activities as part of social reconnecting and re-establishing our industry. About Go4IT Africa We are a proudly South African travel industry, technology, and tourism wholesale company. As specialists in e-commerce technology, we help Tour Operators and Travel Companies to offer experiences, activities, and tours through seamless customer experience while doing business better through real-time online bookings and administration using smart websites. Get in touch with us for a chat, we will set up a FREE demo site to experience a new way of doing business. References 1.) The Department of Tourism. 2020. Interventions for Tourism Sector. Link: https://www.tourism.gov.za/AboutNDT/Ministry/News/Pages/COVID-19_interventions_for_the_tourism_sector 2.) The South African Government. 2020. President Cyril Ramaphosa Escalation Measures Combat Corona Virus. Link: https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar