PRETORIA, The Department of Tourism has introduced an incentive programme to encourage privately-owned tourism enterprises in South Africa to move towards cleaner energy sources and more energy-efficient operations.

The Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP), being implemented in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), supports the Tourism Department's goal of sustainable and inclusive tourism development and follows the recent handover of a solar photo-voltaic mini-grid on Robben Island Museum by the Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa.

Managed and administered by the IDC, the programme will provide grant funding on a sliding scale from 30 per cent to 90 per cent, with a maximum of one million Rand (about 71,000 US dolars), to qualifying small and micro tourism enterprises to implement interventions which will improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs.

Renewable energy generating systems should be more accessible to all within the sector. For this reason, we have introduced the Green Tourism Incentive Programme The aim of the programme is to encourage small and micro tourism enterprises, through a cost-sharing grant, to retrofit their facilities with energy efficiency systems, the Minister said.

Responsible tourism is everyone's business, with an immense potential to increase our country's global competitiveness. I urge the industry to embrace the Green Tourism Incentive Programme, and help us build a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector."

The department and IDC will work closely with the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa to conduct energy efficiency audits and determine the best possible solutions to be implemented.

The IDC's head of Development Funds, Christine Engelbrecht, says one of the programme's fundamental criteria is transformation. Transformation and ownership is a critical dimension of the IDC's mandate. Enterprises with high levels of compliance in terms of the Tourism B-BBEE Scorecard will be awarded a larger grant, Engelbrecht said.

Only exempt micro enterprises, with a total annual turnover of below 5.0 million Rand and qualifying small enterprises with the total annual revenue of between 5.0 million and 45 million Rand respectively, will be considered. The first two-month application window will be opened from Nov 1 to Dec 31, 2017 to call for prospective applicants to submit applications for the GTIP.