In celebration of International Tourist Guide Day, commemorated annually on 21 February since 1990, Robben Island Museum in partnership with the Department of Tourism hosted a two-day celebration at Robben Island Museum from Thursday, 02 March 2017 to Friday, 03 March 2017.
The purpose of the event was 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 work in the tourism industry. 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,” said 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 formed part of the robust discussions.