Tourvest Destination Management’s team of permanent tourist guides have been extremely busy during the last few months, preparing for the inevitable recovery of our beloved tourism industry.

“The pandemic has certainly brought our team closer together. Their enthusiasm and commitment to self-growth during the darkest periods in our industry has certainly kept me motivated and is a constant reminder of why they are our A-team.” ~ Alisha Kirk, Head Guide at Tourvest Destination Management.

Tourist guide Ulrich Seelbach says: “Being a tourist guide involves being on the move constantly, from meeting guests at an airport, or driving to a hotel or an attraction. The COVID-19 pandemic has halted that for over a year now and, in the words of Robert Frost: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” During the period of lockdown and travel bans, I used the time to upskill myself and was able to successfully complete my field guide course. I spent a lot of time working on my tour commentary, and I am confident that my storytelling skills will make my trips more engaging, if not entertaining. I cannot wait to showcase my new skills with our international guests.”

According to tourist guide Charity Bila: “I have been taking the time to understand the meaning of what the travel normality will become and what that means to me. My energy was also spent in keeping my German vocabulary up to date. When days became too long and mindless, I retreated to my favourite pastime, reading and reciting my own poetry. I cannot wait to tour again and give my guests the ultimate South African experience through me!”

Tourist guide Tsholofelo Sedumedi noted: “This pandemic has been, without a doubt, a challenging time for us in travel. I have to admit that it has also been a blessing in disguise for me. I have not only gone through self-growth but realized that I am more capable than I gave myself credit for. For example, I acquired new skills in administration. With no touring, the opportunity arose to collaborate with our consultants and assist them in the workplace, and I also qualified as a hygiene specialist as there was a need to prepare for post-COVID-19 travel. As much as this has been a learning journey for me, I am feeling nostalgic. I need the smell and sounds of the outdoors infused with the soft laughter from my guests.”

According to tourist guide Senzeni Mtshali: “It’s been a while since we were on the road, but we have all remained extremely positive. My time was spent attending online classes and improving my German language skills. Being part of a dynamic team also meant that every spare moment was maximised, and this was done by conducting virtual guided experiences.”

Tourist guide Michael Vermeulen says: “As a tourist guide, I had to find something else to do while the battle against COVID-19 stretched from weeks into months, and finally, to a year. This meant that I had to become my own best company, which brought me back to my much-loved, but neglected hobbies and reading. One of these is artwork, from sketches, water colouring, pens and pencils to charcoal. My artwork has become vital to my storytelling skills, as it illustrates what the story looks like and brings my audience closer to the story. I might be telling them on our travels together. I understand that touring will never be the same, however I can honestly say that I have never been more prepared for what travel holds for my guests and I when we welcome them back.” 

Tourist guide Chezlin Marshman adds: “It has been almost two years since we last saw each other, and I miss you terribly! During this time being apart from our guests, we as tourist guides have gone to great lengths to prepare for their next visit. In addition to making sure we have planned not only the best tours for guests to indulge in, we have also been polishing our technique, improving on the best part of ourselves, and training on health and safety protocols to ensure that we can keep our guests safe. I am absolutely certain that our guests’ next visit will be filled with adventure and joy as we take them to only the best places our beautiful home can offer. We cannot wait to see you all again!”

Tourist guide Ronald Mudau says: “As a tourist guide, I take my health and fitness seriously. This quiet time has given me the opportunity to refocus on my fitness and spend quality time on my tour-guiding material. I have attended every online training workshop and, where possible, connected with my mentors. With all this activity, it has kept my hopes alive, and all I can say is, I can’t wait to be hosting tours in the near future.”