The Tourism Support Programme (TSP) was established in 2008 to replace the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Programme (SMEDP). Currently it offers a grant of between 15% and 30% of qualifying investment costs for establishing tourism operations in South Africa. Subsidies are for example equipment, vehicles, land and buildings and improvements. The purpose of this programme is the facilitation, extension and assistance of the tourism industry in South Africa.

Since inception until the 31 March 2012, a total of 545 applications were assumed and approved. The value of this investments is R 6,8 billion and the incentive value of TSP is about R 1,1 billion. The support of this projects also create about 9054 new jobs.

The more surprising was that the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, has announced the termination of TSP by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from the 1 October. It is not the complete resolution of the project, but rather the decision to transfer the administration of the TSP from the DTI to the National Department of Tourism (DTI).

According to Davies, the reason for this decision are the better alignments and priorities of the DTI and the tourism sector. The decision was already taken by the Cabinet early this year and is outlined in the Policy Action Plan 2011/12 – 2013/14.

The fear that this transformation would have negative impacts on outstanding and approved claims is causeless. As Davies promised, the DTI will finalise all claims and outstanding applications. The budget of TSP is still retained within the DTI to ensure that all liabilities are met. According to Davies, the purpose of transfer is to achieve a better cooperation and alignment between the tourism sector and the responsible ministry.