Minister Fish Mahlalela did a walk about on the first day of the Africa Travel Indaba at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) on Tuesday to listen to the experiences of running tourism establishments shared by product owners of hidden gems across South Africa.
Some of the hiden gems shared their challenges with regards to load shedding, however some have already applied for the Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP) which during his walkabout, Minister Mahlalela encouraged that the it was a solution to resolve many of the tourism business challenges concerning electricity or the lack thereof.
The GTIP is a resource efficiency incentive programme of the Department of Tourism whose objective is to encourage and support private sector tourism enterprises to adopt responsible tourism practices by moving towards the sustainable management and usage of energy and water resources.
The GTIP was launched in 2017 and through grant funding, assists private sector tourism enterprises in reducing the cost of investing in energy and water efficient solutions. Implementing GTIP funded interventions and identified solutions will not only ensure more responsible operations and environmental benefits, but after the projected payback period, the savings will continue to reduce the overall operational cost of the enterprise with direct and sustained benefits in terms of profitability and improved competitiveness.
This incentive programme is a project that the Department of Tourism pioneered, with the objective of encouraging and supporting private sector tourism enterprises to adopt more responsible tourism practices and move towards the sustainable management and use of water and energy.
“All eligible tourism businesses to apply now for the GTIP as climate action in tourism is of utmost importance for the resilience of the sector, and the strengthening adaptive capacity.
This is not the only challenge that hidden gems experience as the owner of Dakarai Bed and Breakfast, Dudu Mnisi says the issue of electricity is a big challenge for her establishment and that she would be applying for the programme immediately.
“electricity is a big issue to most of us, but luckily, at our establishment, we are able to carry on with our daily routines as we have a genaretor for back up. I will be applying for the GTTIIP immediately. I was not aware of the programme of i would have long done it. ” said Mnisi.
Carol Maake, owner of Tinyiko Game Reserve situated in Marlots Park in Komatiport and Malelane, under the Nkomazi Municipality, says the reserve has not been spared of the load shedding challenges that are weighing on the everyday running and operations of her establishment.
Tinyiko Game Reserve is only 15-minute drive from the Kruger National Park, and only 45 minutes from the Swaziland boarder and Maputo.
“Load shedding is killing our businesses as we are still starting out, however we have applied from government for assistance through the GTTIIP and we are hopeful that we get lucky because that will have lifted the weight off our shoulders.” said Maake.