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​​​​​​A series of new incentives were unveiled today to help tourism establishments grow their businesses and to improve South Africa’s iconic tourism attractions.

The incentives will help establishments to become graded and seek new markets for their products, and will later include retrofitting key tourist attractions with renewable energy sources.   
Announcing the Tourism Incentive Programme in Johannesburg today, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom said the tourism sector in South Africa had performed very well in the past two decades.
“The pace of growth in the tourism sector has outstripped the growth in the overall economy significantly,” said Minister Hanekom. “We are now well positioned to do more, to continue growing, and to transform the sector by making it more inclusive and sustainable.”

“Tourism has enormous transformative power. It is estimated that tourism supports 1.4 million direct and indirect jobs and contributes 9.5% of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product. Tourism has a very strong multiplier effect on host communities and has a supply chain that extends deep into the economy.

 “We are investing R557 million in the Tourism Incentive Programme over the medium term to support tourism enterprises to reach their full potential, so they will be in a better position to make sustainable contributions to the growth of the industry, and to the country’s economy,” said Minister Hanekom. 
“This will make South Africa a more competitive global destination.”

The programme will start by focussing on creating better access to new markets and customers, encouraging greater participation in the grading system, and making catalytic investments in key tourist attractions. 

The Department of Tourism will subsidise a portion of the costs incurred by tourism establishments to participate in trade exhibitions and marketing roadshows.  The subsidy will include a capped reimbursement towards pre-determined expenses such as airfare, accommodation and exhibition fees for participation in marketing platforms supported by South African Tourism.

Owners of establishments who want to become graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa will be supported through a structured system of retroactive discounts or rebates on the assessment fee for grading. This will make grading more affordable for smaller businesses, and incentivise more establishments to become graded. 

A pilot project to retrofit facilities at state-owned destinations and attractions with renewable energy technology will start in tandem with the first phase. The learnings from this pilot will guide the design of a programme with specific applications for tourism establishments in the private sector. “This part of the programme will reduce the operating costs of establishments, and make them more environmentally sustainable. With the pressure on the national electricity grid, and the critical requirement for energy security in tourism operations, there is an urgent need for the tourism sector to consider more energy efficient solutions,” said Minister Hanekom.

The pilot project will start with strategic facilities at important World Heritage Sites, National Parks and National Botanical Gardens. The programme will be expanded to include the private sector in subsequent years.

The Tourism Incentive Programme supports the objectives of South Africa’s overall industrial policy, which includes creating jobs, building the local industrial base and transforming to a green economy.


Mr Trevor Bloem - Chief Director - Communications
National Department of Tourism
Tel: +27 12 444 6607
Cell: 27 82 771 6729