Tourism Budget Vote: Will it help a shattered industry recover and build resilience?

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela, on 18 May delivered the Tourism Budget Vote highlighting the Department’s vision and strategic focal points for the 2021/22 financial year.

How will the Tourism Department’s new budget help a shattered industry recover and build resilience? Cape Talk’s Refilwe Moloto this morning hosted FEDHASA National Chaiperson, Rosemary Anderson on the Breakfast show to unpack the budget.

Rosemary highlighted the positive impressions of the budget speech, including the fact that the Department is focussing on attracting international business.

The department has already submitted 55 bids for large international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions over the next few years. Thus far, South Africa has won 16 of the bids submitted for the 2020/21 financial year with a 29% conversion rate. The secured business events will contribute R296 million to South Africa’s economy between 2022 and 2025 and attract 9,825 international and regional delegates.

The anticipated roll-out of eVisas to visitors from China, India, Nigeria, Kenya and 10 other countries is another positive development.

Listen to the full interview here.

Other key points to note from the announcement from yesterday’s Tourism Budget Vote:

What has been done?

  • Working together with Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), the Department of Tourism was able to arrange for a special dispensation such that tourism businesses could apply for TERS through the TBCSA.
  • To support small enterprises the department allocated R200 million for The Tourism Relief Fund, which paid 4,000 enterprises an amount of R50 000 each. The Tourist Guide Relief Fund was established. Through the fund, approximately 4,650 qualifying freelancing tourist guides were paid an amount of R1,500 per guide per month for a three-month period.
  • Various domestic marketing campaigns were organised.
  • Working together with the TBCSA, the Department of Tourism (DOT) was able to get individuals working in the sector recognised as frontline workers – who will now be prioritised within Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout. Thanks to the partnership with the private sector and the establishment of COVID protocols, an early reopening of the industry was achieved.

What will be done?

  • The DOT and the private sector will develop the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
  • For the financial year 2021/22 the Department’s budget allocation amounts to about two point four billion rands (R2 429.6 billion), of which one point two billion rands (R1 297 billion) is for Transfers to SAT.
  • The total infrastructure commitment is just under R700 million over a five-year period. To date, an amount of R270 million of the funds has been made available to DBSA who serves as the implementing agent for the department’s infrastructure programme. A further R222 million has been budgeted for this financial year.
  • During the medium-term, the Destination Development Programme will continue with the implementation of a tourism infrastructure maintenance programme of state-owned assets. The Department has prioritised 100 tourism infrastructure initiatives across the country, with a further 30 community-based projects.


  • The Tourism Transformation Fund will be restructured to be more efficient and more accessible to entrepreneurs. An announcement will be made in the coming weeks.
  • The Tourism Transformation Fund is capitalised to the tune of R77 million from its initial amount of R120 million after about R43 millions of successful applications.
  • The Tourism Equity Fund is currently interdicted by the court following an application against the fund by AfriForum and Solidarity.

Enterprise Development

  • The department will expand the Incubation Programme to support tourism youth-owned SMMEs. This will include business support and development through the addition of the Tourism Tech Incubator, and the Tour Operators Incubator will be implemented in this financial year.

Women in Tourism

  • The intake of the executive leadership programme for women is 40 women this year.
  • This financial year, the DOT will implement Leadership and Skills Development; Supplier Development; and SMME development programmes to enhance the meaningful participation of women in Tourism.

Domestic & International Marketing


  • Domestic marketing efforts will be intensified this year through several domestic marketing campaigns: marketing of various attractions, deal driven campaigns and digital engagements aimed at reaching South Africans of all ages, races and classes.
  • The introduction of a dual pricing system to make attractions more accessible to South Africans.


  • Twenty-four markets were identified for prioritisation. The 24 prioritised markets accounted for 92% of all international trips in 2019.
  • The implementation of a SADC Tourism Programme will intensify cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Tourism Policy Framework

  • A draft policy document will be completed by August this year.

You can access the full Tourism Budget speech here.


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