South Africa opens $79.4 million fund to revive tourism industry

Published on : Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The South African government has started a 1.2 billion rand ($79.4 million) fund aimed at reviving the ailing tourism industry. On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that the Tourism Equity Fund will be used in particular to help black entrepreneurs start businesses and projects in the sector.

She mentioned that the cash will come from government, lenders and the Pretoria-based Small Enterprise Finance Agency. Tourism-dependent businesses have been particularly hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic as border closures and travel restrictions prevented the usual flow of holidaymakers from Europe and elsewhere.

The identification of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa late last year only exacerbated the situation, putting the country on many nations’ lists of places to avoid. Under normal circumstances, tourism accounts for 2.9% of South Africa’s economy and about 1.5 million jobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the launch.

He mentioned that the sector is labor-intensive, and therefore has immense job creation potential. He also shared that it generates foreign-direct investment and significant export earnings. It stimulates and supports the development of small businesses. The focus on black businesses is part of the government’s efforts to improve economic opportunities to those discriminated against during apartheid.

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