“Following a gruelling bid process, it is with regret and sadness that I have to tell you that Cape Town did not win the Bid to host the 2015 World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations Conference, writes Alushca Ritchie, CEO for the Cape Tourist Guides Association and Vice-Chairperson for the Federation of Tourist Guide Associations in South Africa.
It was an extremely tough race between Prague, Novi Sad and Cape Town. Prague however seemed to be the popular choice and with 32 countries voting for it, won the vote to host the 2015 conference.
It has been a great pleasure working on this Bid submission over the last six months. I would like to thank everyone involved in making this Bid presentation/proposal possible. Specifically Wesgro and Cebisa Conferences for all their efforts and assistance, South African Tourism for the lobbying gifts and covering the flights, and Protea Hotel Chain for their contributions to our Bid. Without all the necessary assistance (no matter how large or how small the contribution), an attempt at bidding for this convention could not have been possible.
It has been a fantastic experience meeting Delegates and Participants from over 30 countries at this event. Cape Town, South Africa has been received with welcoming arms, and many of the Delegates and Participants were extremely excited to hear and learn more about our lovely country. We may not have won this 2015 WFTGA Convention, but we have gained some great supporters, friends and future travellers.
We wish Prague all the best with the preparations for the 2015 WFTGA Conference.” ~ Press Release following the announcement on 10th January 2013.
While on the subject of tourist guiding, please consider the following issues on Tourist Guiding in South Africa:
Challenges Tourist Guides face
- Illegal, unregistered guides create a challenge for legally registered guides;
- Concierges often demand unrealistic commissions. As small smmes, and one-man operations it becomes unaffordable to work at a competitive rate for hotels;
- For guides disproportionate permanent employment is available as opposed to erratic piecemeal work;
- Self drive tours are being marketed leaving little or no funding for effective international marketing of guided tours in the micro business sector.
- Tourist Guiding in South Africa is a highly regulated sector, with many processes potential guides have to go through to be 100% compliant. After attending the WFTGA Conference, I was stunned to learn that we are one of the top countries for having checks and balances in place in guiding. Such as:
- Tourist Guides are governed by law and must be registered to be able to guide;
- Should be assessed and found competent by an accredited assessor in the field and area that he/she will be working in;
- First aid training every 3 years;
- PDP drivers licences which have to be renewed every 2 years and include fingerprinting and police clearance, eye tests, medical certificate;
- Vehicle operators permits are compulsory and this process includes roadworthy tests; And the compliancy list continues.
- The new Tourism Bill makes provision for a maximum fine of
- R110 000 for an illegal guide or Tour Operator who has hired him. Our Government is taking illegal guiding seriously.
However, SA marketers are not using this fact to market the country. We are years ahead of some First World countries, yet this fact is not publicized.
Challenges to Tourist Guide Associations
As volunteer organisations, often our only income is from membership fees. This is never enough to cover, even partially, the travelling expenses that are incurred for volunteers to carry out their work as representatives.
Apart from other benefits to our members, the Cape Tourist Guide Association represents Guides on a Provincial level in many forums. We also work closely with our Provincial Tourist Guide Registrar. We would like to be able to attend more forums and represent the Tourist Guiding sector Nationally, however we are often not able to attend sector relevant meetings and give specialised input into decision making because we do not have the resources to attend.
We appeal to all Tourism Stakeholders, as the CTGA desperately needs support (especially corporate support) to grow and more effectively fulfil its role in what can and should be a flourishing Tourist Guide sector.