On Saturday Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced which tourism services will resume under Level 3 and how the government will provide relief for workers in this sector.
The following services will be permitted under Level 3:
- Tour guides, tour operators, travel agents and tourism information officers may return to work
- Training of nature guides can resume
- Public and private game farms will be open for self-drive excursions
- Hiking must be done in compliance with existing guidelines and cannot be done in groups
- Hunting and Gaming activities are also allowed
Kubayi-Ngubane says that the Tourism Relief Fund will pay out R50 000 per entity to cover some of the fixed costs, operational costs and other pressure cost items. The Minister says that they have received more than 6 000 applications which mostly come from hospitality and travel services. However, many people in the sector highlighted difficulties with applying for funding online, for these, the department will accept email submissions by the closing date (31 May 2020).
In addition, R30 million has been allocated to provide tour guides with financial relief.
“Following my meeting with tour guides in which they expressed their plight and how the various governmental relief initiatives have neglected them, I went back to the Department and had a discussion about what can be done to assist this subsector. 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,” the Minister said.
Registered tour guides who are not employed by any company or do not have their own companies will qualify for this funding.
Kubayi-Ngubane says that they have a team working to contact all eligible applicants to ensure that they can submit missing documents and access funding.
The Minister concluded by saying, “We have a beautiful country that will still be beautiful after the Covid-19 pandemic. Post-COVID-19, people will still yearn to visit beautiful places and create memorable moments with their loved ones. We have plans in place to, as soon as the world begins to open up, resume marketing our country and rebuilding our brand.”