TOURISM RELIEF FUND OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: In a bid to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on South Africa’s tourism sector, the Department of Tourism is urging eligible small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to apply for a share of the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund

The following is a statement by South Africa’s Department of Tourism:



The Department of Tourism encourages eligible businesses to apply for the COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund during the application period from 07 April to 30 May 2020.

Established as an intervention to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, the R200 million Tourism Relief Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance to Small Micro and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) to ensure sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa. 

“We acknowledge the difficulties experienced by businesses during this time, hence the need to support the industry and communities to cope with the negative effects of this pandemic,” said Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

“Our tourism industry is comprised of mainly SMMEs, most of which are survivalists in nature, with limited access to funding from commercial institutions. We hope the support offered through the Tourism Relief Fund will assure the continued survival of SMMEs beyond the COVID–19 pandemic.”

Capped at R50 000 per entity, the grant funding can be utilised to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure cost items. Preference will be given to enterprises with the highest score in terms of the criteria, which serve as a pre-qualification. A panel of experts will conduct the final evaluation in terms of functionality.

Guided by the Tourism Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practices approved by the Minister of Trade and Industries in 2015 (in line with the B-BBEE Amendment Act No. 46 of 2013), the Tourism Relief Fund is administered in line with the objectives of Economic Transformation, and our vision to ensure sustainable and inclusive tourism development. The disbursement of funds will ensure equitable spatial distribution in terms provinces.

Categories eligible to apply for the Tourism Relief Fund include the following: 

  • Accommodation establishments: Hotels; Resort properties; Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s); Guest houses; Lodges and Backpackers.
  • ​Hospitality and related services: Restaurants (not attached to hotels); Conference venues (not attached to hotels), Professional catering; and Attractions
  • Travel and related services: Tour operators; Travel agents; Tourist guiding; Car rental companies; and Coach Operators.

Visit our website for comprehensive information on the Fund terms and qualifying criteria. SMMEs can submit funding applications by completing a form accessible online at

Inquiries on the fund can be emailed to or . Alternatively contact our call centre telephonically on 0860 TOURISM (868 747) weekdays from 08:00 – 22:00.

For media enquiries: Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota on Email: or call 064 754 8426

Issued by the GCIS on behalf of the Department of Tourism

07 April 2020

Covid 19 and Tourism Sector: The outbreak of coronavirus continues to harm the tourism industry writes Director Dumisani Mhlongo - read the full letter here..

We have entered lockdown in South Africa and now is the time, as a first priority, to stay safe,  each do our part to #flattenthecurve and follow the healthcare guidelines as shared on or

The outbreak of coronavirus continues to harm the tourism industry and may lead to closure of businesses and severe job losses.

While the Minister of Tourism Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed government’s commitment to work with all stakeholders to implement measures that will mitigate impact on affected businesses and individuals, the extent and length of support is unknown given ongoing research and uncertainty surrounding the virus.

There is no question that travel ban imposed by government as part of desperate measures to reduce the impact of coronavirus will have dire consequences for South Africa’s inbound tourism at a time when the country is in technical recession.

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) already in the past week warned about as much as a 3% decline in global tourism trade due to the outbreak. A 3% decline would translate into an estimated loss of up to $50 billion in international tourism receipts, according to the UNWTO.

Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) says the travel ban presents a setback for South Africa’s tourism economy. China is one of the biggest markets of global travellers and SA receives 95,000 Chinese tourists a year.

According to 2019 Report on impact of mega trends in the tourism sector, China was expected to become the largest outbound market by 2025 (with international tourists from China growing from 120 million in 2015 to 220 million in 2025).

 China was projected to overtake the US as the country with the highest propensity to travel abroad, and would be the world’s largest source of outbound tourism demand within the decade.

 According to this report developing countries would continue to increase their international arrivals at a higher rate than developed countries. Europe would still attract the highest number of international visitors in 2030 and the biggest total market share, but combining the market shares of Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East in 2030, will exceed Europe’s market share by about 10 percent. Europe is now the “epicentre” of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the head of the World Health Organization.

 Prohibition of events also constitutes a great assault to the tourism sector.

Events are high-value tourism attractions. They act as catalysts to change and image-makers for business (conventions, trade shows, etc.) and leisure travel (sports events and cultural festivals, etc.). The close links between major events and tourism are always clear to see hence many cities, regions and countries have identified event tourism as a priority within their long-term tourism strategies.

Business tourists are cost insensitive, their average spend are higher than leisure tourists and they often bring along partners, who take part in their own itinerary. According to research conducted by the National Convention Bureau, 40% of all convention delegates attending meetings in South Africa return in the next five years as tourists, thus boosting tourism growth and job creation.

Locally there are three major events that were scheduled to take place during this season, that hang in the balance. Art in the Park, The Royal Agricultural Show and Comrades Marathon. These used to run in tandem until there were concerns from local accommodation services, in particular, as they would be oversubscribed in one week and empty thereafter.

The Art in the Park majority participants spend average four nights in Pietermaritzburg and total event impact is at R 55 Million on Multiplier of 2,0.

The Royal Show – by way of the economic multiplier effect – generates in excess of R250 Million for the benefit of the Pietermaritzburg / Midlands region and was deemed to contribute approximately R400 Million annually to the regional economy through other the annual activities of the Royal Agricultural Society by Matrix Development and Project Managers. The Comrades Marathon regional (Pietermaritzburg / Midlands) economic impact is more than R500 Million and even greater for KZN Province.

 Annual local religious events also contribute greatly to local economy mix and as expected, cancellation of their events will deal a serious blow to the regional economy.

 In the past South Africa relied on domestic tourism to survive when faced with International challenges, the same cannot be a solution this time. The uncertainty around the virus disables tourism performance projections and effectively places sector in most difficult position.

 Small businesses can visit to register for help

Read : Notes on MEC meeting with Tourism Trade


58th Art in the Park (2020) Exhibition & Festival Postponed

Press Release – for immediate release
18 March 2020
City: PM Burg, KZN SA

58th Art in the Park (2020) Exhibition & Festival Postponed

On Sunday 15 March 2020 the State President declared Corona Virus, also known as COVID-19, as national state of disaster. Travel restrictions and prohibition of gatherings with more than hundred people were also announced.

Whilst we focus our attention on supporting efforts to contain the spread of the virus and complying with government directives, we have taken a decision to postpone the staging of the 58th Art in the Park (2020) Exhibition & Festival that was scheduled to take place in a month’s time, from 29 April to 03 May 2020, till further notice.

As we continue to evaluate the situation, we undertake to inform Exhibitors and stakeholders once new dates have been set.


For more information contact:
Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association
Dumisani Mhlongo, MPTA: 033 345 1348, 0845603399


The Royal Agricultural Society has set a new date for the 2020 Royal Show; this being 24 July through 2 August.

Click here for the official media statement.


The Art in the Park Schools art competition called ‘Through an eye of a child’ is an innovative art initiative that recognises the artistic and cultural talent of students. Therefore the students are given artistic licence to represent the theme through their own interpretation and creativity. The theme for this year is: “Lend a hand to save trees”

Click here to read the full article.



 Student Information & Consent Form

Click here to download the form…


Its all happening in PMB




Live Music Sunday, Umshubo we D.F, Roger Goode at Saki PMB, Chilla Nathi Cookout Experience, 4-Day Overland 4×4 tour of Lesotho, 2-day Advanced Trail Running Clinic and so much more! Read all about it …

58th Art in the Park (2020) Application letter - download

Download the 58th Art in the Park (2020) Application letter here

58th Art in the Park (2020) Exhibition Registrations and Schools Art Competition Submissions are now open

The 6th Annual Women in Tourism (2019) event

The 6th Annual Women in Tourism (2019) event took place on Monday the 30th of September 2019 when Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association wrapped up a Tourism/Heritage month empowering and encouraging women to take their role in the industry and utilise the available opportunities as Tourism is a number one economic driver of the country and women are greatly needed to promote and do local tourism. All Speakers emphasized the importance of exploring the great heritage sites to reconnect with our past, they also encourage the community to be part of the We Do Tourism campaign to strengthen the culture of Tourism awareness.
The women were pampered by students from Creative Arts college.
Click here to view the event pictures

 Showcase – Know your city.

Fort Napier (Click here to read more)

Fort Napier and its imperial garrison was one of the most significant institutions in Pietermaritzburg and indeed in the whole country.


The Weeping Cross of Delville Wood (Click here to read more)

The Weeping Cross is located in the Pietermaitzburg Garden of Remembrance. Dedicated to soldiers who died during the two World Wars, the Garden of Remembrance with its Delville Wood Cross is a popular attraction in Pietermaritzburg.



Georgetown – Pietermaritzburg (Click to read more)

he Edendale & Imbali Heritage & Freedom Route and Westgate Tourism Experience incorporate Georgetown, a powerful narrative of contribution of the area and its people to Pietermaritzburg City as we know it now.


The Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve (Click to read more)

ituated in Hilton on the northern slopes of Pietermaritzburg, the Queen Elizabeth Nature Reserve is home to many beautiful species, including impala, blesbok, zebra, bushbuck, dassies, grey and blue duiker and crowned eagles.


Pietermaritzburg Map  370KB


April 10, 2020, 2:54 pm
Intermittent clouds
Intermittent clouds
real feel: 32°C
current pressure: 1020 mb
humidity: 36%
UV-Index: 4
sunrise: 6:14 am
sunset: 5:45 pm