Tourism minister announces R30m fund for guides hit hard by lockdown

30 May 2020 - 20:11 By Aphiwe Deklerk
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Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has announced a new R30m fund to benefit tour guides who were hit hard by the close of the industry during lockdown.

Kubayi-Ngubane announced the fund during a press conference on Saturday evening.

She said the fund came after a meeting with tour guides who had been neglected by the government’s relief initiatives.

Currently, the department has R200m set aside as a tourism relief fund to help companies that have had to shut down due to the lockdown.

Applications for that fund close on Sunday, May 31.

“As you are aware, the tour guiding subsector is dominated by freelancers and independent contractors with no job security and for this reason the government relief schemes, including the tourism relief fund, did not cover them.

“In response, the department has come up with an additional financial relief mechanism for tourist guides. We have set aside a total of R30m which will provide financial relief over a period of two to three months,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

She said the beneficiaries will include tour guides who are registered with the registrar in terms of the Tourism Act and those who are not employed by a company.

Kubayi-Ngubane said tour guides who are freelancers or who have not formed companies will also benefit from the fund because they don’t have job security.

“As they also prepare themselves for the sector reopening, they too would need to adhere to the necessary protocol for containment of the spread of the virus.

“In this regard, we shall also be making further provisions to ensure that they also receive personal protective equipment. We trust that this support will go some way in providing relief to the tourist guides,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

She said the tourism relief fund has received more than 6,000 applications for grant assistance.

Kubayi-Ngubane said a large number of the applications were from businesses that provide accommodation.

Under level three, the tourism sector has been opened but with limited activities. Restaurants are now allowed to sell food and alcohol but only for takeout.

Hunting, gaming activities and hiking are now all allowed but with restrictions.

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