The Department of Tourism has invited eligible tourism enterprises to take part in the Green Tourism Incentive Programme’s (GTIP) 9th application window, opening on 25 January until 31 March 2024.
The development of the GTIP was informed by escalating electricity prices, the intensifying pressure on the national energy grid and negative impacts of load shedding, as well as water scarcity and drought conditions which negatively impact the tourism sector.
This programme encourages private sector tourism enterprises to move towards the installation of solutions for the sustainable management and usage of electricity and water resources.
GTIP has already assisted 173 tourism businesses across the country with electricity and water solutions to the total grant value of R104 285 673.
The solutions that were installed as part of this process helped reduce input costs and increase operational sustainability and competitiveness. A further 419 active applications are at various stages of processing, according to the department.
For this financial year, the department has set aside R199 151 179 to disburse to successful GTIP applicants.
The department said it has worked closely with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to develop the GTIP for the sector to ensure an enhanced and uninterrupted visitor experience for tourists. Funding applications and approvals for the GTIP are managed by the IDC.
Eligible applicants are able to qualify for the full cost of a new energy and water efficiency audit or the review of an existing audit.
Furthermore, eligible applicants are also able to qualify for grant funding of between 50% and 90% (capped at a maximum of R1 million per applicant) on the cost of approved solutions that will improve energy and water efficiency and reduce the costs of their tourism operations.
“This programme is one that I am most proud of that the department is able to offer the tourism sector where by going green, tourism establishments are able to offer an uninterrupted visitor experience and ensure that the sector can continue to operate despite energy and water constraints,” Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille said.
“This initiative is also vital to our efforts to adapt and mitigate to the impacts of climate change by helping businesses use water wisely and use clean forms of energy thereby reducing carbon emissions.
“I encourage businesses to apply for this support by the Department of Tourism so that we can keep the tourism sector green,” de Lille said.
The GTIP has yielded many success stories.
Ingrid Young of Cliffhanger Cottage from Rheenendal, Knysna, is one of the guesthouse owners the department assisted with water tanks and installation of solar panels for generating energy as well as pumping water in her establishment through the GTIP.
She confidently said she is now able to accommodate her customers as she can operate her business with ease.
“This programme installed solar panels which is assisting me in heating geysers, cooking as well as pumping of water from the borehole. I am content as my tourism business is now booming, because of the number of bookings I receive,” Mehlomakulu Mehlomakulu from Fort Hook Guesthouse in Phelandaba outside Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape said, thanking the department.
Anthony Maitland, the owner of Teniqua Tree Tops Guesthouse situated between Thatchfield and Knysna, said: “The water pumping system in my guesthouse as well as frequent load shedding in the area used to be a huge problem until the installation of solar panels which is assisting with the water pumping system as well as curbing load shedding in my guesthouse.
“I am now at ease to operate the business without any fear of energy outages. I can recommend this programme to emerging and existing tourism establishments.”
The GTIP does not only assist in reducing pressure on the national electricity grid and water resources of the country, but also reduce operational input cost and facilitate increased competitiveness and operational sustainability in the tourism sector.
The department said it continues to advance climate action in tourism for the resilience of the sector as well as strengthening adaptive capacity.
For more information or to apply for the GTIP programme visit www.tourism.gov.za.