The purpose of the event is to celebrate and discuss the role tourist guides play in promoting peace, security and mutual understanding in relation to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This initiative is coordinated by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations under the leadership of the newly elected President, South African wine specialist, Alushca Ritchie.
According to Statistics South Africa’s December 2016 report on the tourism sector, the industry created 32,186 new jobs in 2015, raising the tourism workforce from 679,560 individuals in 2014 to a total of 711,746 individuals. This is despite a decline in international tourists visiting our shores in 2015. Currently, one in 22 employed people in South Africa works in the tourism industry, representing 45% of the total workforce. In fact, tourism surpasses mining as an employer.
“A tour guide can either make or break your tour experience. Tour guides have the ability to share knowledge, history and humour tourists while guiding them through their escapades. It’s more than just storytelling; they essentially play a significant role as ambassadors of the organisation,” shares infrastructure and facilities executive manager of Robben Island Museum, Gershon Manana.
Under this year’s theme by the Department of Tourism - Peace and Development through Guiding - peace, sustainability, and security will form part of the robust discussions. Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa will deliver keynote addresses emphasising the valuable contribution of tour guides to the tourism sector.
“Hosting the 27th year of International Tourist Guide Day is significant for us because we’re celebrating 20 years as a museum this year. We are excited to be paying homage to these dedicated men and women who are true ambassadors of world heritage sites,” concludes Manana.
Robben Island Museum offers educational and specialised tours. The guides include former political prisoners who are fully conversant and knowledgeable about the Island’s multi-layered 500-year-old history. To find out more about the tours and the guides, visit www.accessbudgetsafaris.com for details