Tourvest Travel Services (TTS), a member of integrated tourism group Tourvest, treated fifteen very excited orphans from Gauteng to a getaway in Durban as part of the group’s social responsibility drive to introduce underprivileged children to the wonderful world of travel.

TTS is one of South Africa’s largest providers of travel management services and includes sector-leading brands such as Seekers Travel, American Express Global Business Travel, Maties Travel, Indojet Travel, and TravelIT.

The children came from the Ikageng Shelter for Boys and the Khanya Khaya Shelter for Girls, both based in Vereeniging, where destitute and abandoned children between the ages of seven and eighteen are looked after.

Joining TTS in this initiative were travel partners BA Comair and Europcar as well as sister company aha Hotels and Lodges, the tourism property management arm of Tourvest’s Accommodation and Activities division.

The children arrived at OR Tambo airport and were met by TTS and Comair staff.  The boys were given ruck sacks and the girls were given beach bags filled with gifts the children would need on their holiday. They boarded a BA flight to a warm welcome from the captain and a round of applause from their fellow passengers.  Europcar chauffeurs transported the children from the airport to the aha Gateway Hotel as the first stop on the trip.  Thereafter the children were whisked to the beach, Gateway Mall for dinner, ten pin bowling and the Black Panther movie.

Their two day trip was packed full of new experiences, including a wonderful tour of uShaka Marine World where they were treated to a variety of shows and an educational experience.  This was the first time these children have ever been on an aeroplane, stayed in a hotel or, for most, set foot in the ocean, says Tourvest Travel Services chief executive Morné du Preez.

“The reason for a trip like this is to give these children the opportunity to experience something most of us take for granted.  To see the smiles on their faces and to know that we had a small part to play in making their dreams come true is beyond rewarding.  This trip also showed these children what an exciting prospect a career in travel could be. It ties in perfectly with our long-standing learnership programme, which has helped over 200 disadvantaged learners take their first step in a career in travel and tourism,” he says.