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City intensifies support for SMME accommodation sector

​The Executive Committee unanimously supported a report to ensure that all the City’s own accommodation bookings be directed to the small business accommodation sector. This includes Bed and Breakfasts, guesthouses and guest lodge establishments.

The tabled report, which formed part of a report from the Economic Development and Planning Cluster, was approved at an Executive Committee held on 22 September. It is subject to approval at Full Council.

This intervention forms part of the eThekwini Tourism Recovery Plan, which includes tourism as a priority sector. Speaking on the report at the initial tabling at the Economic Development and Planning Cluster Committee on 17 September, Deputy City Manager of Economic Development and Planning Philip Sithole said this was one of the initiatives geared towards re-starting the sector. He said the City is committed to assisting small businesses get back on their feet as a mitigation strategy towards tourism businesses.

The Durban Tourism Recovery Plan, which is aligned to the eThekwini Recovery Plan, indicates a set of strategic interventions to mitigate the dismal situation that tourism is currently experiencing, with Covid-19 having affected and is still affecting the small, medium and micro enterprises accommodation sector the most.

Small business in the accommodation sector such as Bed and Breakfasts, guesthouses and guest lodges, as well as self-catering units who are in financial crisis are considering closing down, which will in turn affect spend, contribution to the City’s GDP, government taxes and the unemployment rate, added Sithole.
Upon approval at Full Council, the City’s inbound business travel accommodation bookings will be directed to all small business accommodation establishments in Durban.

Thus far, the Municipality has offered a payment relief for Bed and Breakfasts and guest house establishments that changes their rates liability from business and commercial to residential. In addition, the plan proposes an increase in allocations to the nine Community Tourism Organisations (CTOs) supported by the City. Businesses also have an option, until the end of December, to make a payment plan for arrear accounts over 90 days in which a down payment agreement of between 25 to 50 percent is payable and the interest incurred will not be charged.

Priah.dass@durban.gov.za

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