The National Federation of Tourist Guides & Affiliates South Africa (NFTGA) and Tourvest Destination Management (TDM) have launched an aid programme to help tourist guides, drivers and their families in distress as a result of South African lockdown regulations around COVID-19 – effectively not allowing for any form of leisure travel.

To this end, NFTGA and TDM, in collaboration with Joint Aid Management South Africa (JAMSA), recently launched the NFTGA SOS Tourist guide and Driver Campaign.

This partnership allows the NFTGA to issue – to both public and corporate donors – section 18A tax certificates that allow them to claim a tax deduction for the donation.

The campaign sees tourist guides and drivers’ information uploaded on to a mobile application where, in turn, they will receive an SMS notification that they have been allocated a food parcel, along with a date, time and place for collection.

Once the collection notification has been sent, along with a list of contents of the food parcel, the tourist guide or driver will be required to take stock of the contents and confirm contents via the SMS service.

This approach ensures that distressed families are provided for equally and in a “non-discriminatory” manner, said NFTGA Media Liaison, Francois Collin.

The greatest challenge with the programme was raising the funds, said Tourvest Head Guide and Special Projects Manager, Alisha Kirk. “We need to appeal to the public and private sectors to contribute but this pandemic has left no one unscathed, which means that we all have to dig deep to help the next person.”

Both Kirk and Collin agreed that the specific aid campaign would run for as long as the current crisis continued to create hardships for tourist guides and drivers who are members of the NFTGA and their families. 

“We realise that we have set our aims high and that raising the funds needed to provide food aid on the scale envisioned, will require much generosity from donors, but it is at this stage a matter of survival,” explained Collin. “We have faith in the inherent goodness of the human spirit, and believe that our industry and our clients will stand by us in solidarity during this time of need.”

Kirk added that the industry needed to recognise the efforts and energy that every tourist guide and driver put into a tourist’s travel journey.

“Their commitment and passion leave lasting memories for every guest who shares many hours with them. This is our time to stand in solidarity with our industry and the opportunity to give back to special souls to turn our many dreams into memorable experiences,” she emphasised.