By Khumbo Kaliwo:
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Monday awarded over K400 million matching grants to 18 tourism operators.
Minister of Tourism Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi said he expects to see expanded operations in the tourism sector and increase revenue collection.
Usi said the process of awarding the matching grants was divided into two parts with the first phase targeting operators whose only challenge was finance.
“It may please you to note that the award of the matching grants concludes a long process that emanated from the recognition that local tourism operators, especially the youth and women, lacked the capacity to compete in the tourism industry.
“This challenge is also highlighted in the National Tourism Policy which provided for direction for empowerment of locals to participate in the tourism industry.” Usi said
He then urged the awardees to use the funds for the intended purpose.
Manager for Sheilas Lodge Beatie Masi said the grant will improve the face of their business and inturn create job opportunities to others.
“Never before have we been supported by the government financially,” Misi said
The successful operators that applied for the grants scored above 70 points and proceeded into the final stage which was conducting of due diligence on the shortlisted projects.
A team of evaluators together with the Project Coordinating Unit visited the projects and physically inspected the project or proposed project site, interviewed the applicants, among other issues.
Reports were issued and discussed by the evaluators and the final 18 Awardees were finally selected.
In 2018 the African Development Bank approved disbursement of $800,000 to 50 tourism Small Medium Enterprises with a 50 percent bias towards women and the youth.