Tourism in the City of Joburg has taken a huge drop because of Covid-19 restrictions, resulting in the loss of millions of rand in revenue.

However, the application for relief funds for small, medium and micro entities (SMMEs) is now open.

Laura Vercueil, spokesperson for Joburg Tourism said: “We are mindful of the realistic fact that the economic growth of the Republic has gone down by 1.4% and the Moody’s credit rating was revised down from 0.7 to 0.4 – which led the country to experience a technical recession.

“Tourism, based on its resilient nature, is one of the sectors that was going to help the country bounce back from recession – but unfortunately was constrained by the outbreak of Covid-19. After the pandemic has been dealt with, it is anticipated there is going to be a lot of movement between businesses and a lot of meetings All those in South Africa will help to revive the tourism and hospitality economic growth, particularly business tourism.”

The city is ready to cater to this anticipated movement as a leading business destination, she added.


According to Euromonitor International Report, where Joburg recorded 5.9 million visitor arrivals in 2018, Joburg Tourism is now expecting a huge decline due to the virus as a major constraint to travel.

Collaboration between the city and strategic partners wherein the private sector is demonstrating good citizenry, include the following efforts:

Hotels availing their properties as quarantine sites without looking at making profits, but covering costs;


Positioning of hospitality establishments looking to accommodate people for long stays – that is a period of lockdown in response to the government’s clarion call of a national lockdown;

This is a strategic initiative to ensure that business can still function during this time to not only cover costs, but also retain jobs; and

In respect of the precautionary measures put in place by the president, the Joburg tourism agency would like to announce that in consultation with the Southern African Association for Conference Industry (Saaci), a decision to postpone the Saaci congress to a later date has been taken.

The tourism private sector, in collaboration with government partners, including the city, has embarked on research to determine revenue losses in tourism business.

The Department of Tourism has contributed R200 million towards its planned distress fund for tourism relief funding for tourism SMMEs emergency.

“According to the president’s address regarding tourism businesses that are under particular stress due to travel restrictions, the City of Joburg will be happy to make available support letters for tourism businesses, in line with the specific requirements, when applying to access the funds from national government bodies.

“We are in collaboration with the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa, the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa and the Saaci to ensure that the tourism and hospitality sectors adhere to measures issued by the president,” said Vercueil.

The outcome of the aforesaid national study presented the following facts:

  • R764.8 million in business lost due to cancellations;
  • R44.5m average per respondent;
  • R150m – highest single company loss in value of confirmed bookings – a business that had R250m value of confirmed bookings from March 16 to June 20;
  • R20000 is the lowest loss in value of confirmed bookings – a business that had R50 000 value of confirmed bookings from March 16 to June 20; and
  • A 66.3% average value of cancelled bookings versus total value of confirmed bookings during the same period.
  • Capped at R50000 per entity, grant funding can be utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure items.

For more information on funding criteria and the application process, please visit or contact the call centre from Monday to Sunday from 6am to 10pm on 0860 868 747 or email

Enquiries can also be directed to :

A a free webinar entitled unpacking SMME Relief Packages, Focus on SA Tourism Fund, was held on April 8 and can be viewed on