First and foremost this blog is primarily aimed at individuals living within the borders of South Africa, with its objectives supplemented by contributions from the broader Global Tourist Guiding community.
So, if you are either thinking of becoming a registered South African Tourist Guide or have recently qualified, then this Forum will help you.
Apart from the blog posts, the intention is to provide an additional platform via informal, interactive Awareness Sessions with the prime objective of sharing practical information on the stark realities of Tourist Guiding.
At the core, are my personal real-life experiences that I am more than willing to share, and will not be encountered in any formal training course. In fact, they should be seen as a precursor to a formal training course
Although this fledgeling Blog is initially focussing on the South African Tourist Guide environment, the ultimate objective is to encourage worldwide contributions and content. To be even more specific, if that’s possible given only the vaguest notion of how to continue, the intention is twofold. In tandem with providing information to anyone who may be pondering becoming either a Tourist Guide or Tour Operator, practical input from experienced Tourist Guides sharing knowledge, experiences and different perspectives can only be beneficial, and hopefully interesting, to the wider international Guiding community.
Whilst I am aware of the many Tourist Guide Blogs and websites out there, with yet another one risking the danger of raising bored eyebrows, I would suggest that there’s a possibility they could act as a catalyst for each other. Check out the Blog of Innoguidetourism a consortium of European countries to see what I’m getting at. By engaging in discussion, and sharing appropriate content, further creative examples should naturally develop leading to everybody potentially winning.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality”
– John Lennon
Now cruising into semi-retirement I ask myself, what is experience and knowledge worth if you don’t use it for the benefit of others? If you are an aspirant Tourist Guide, Operator, or small business Tourism entrepreneur, then I believe my own work-life years in all these fields, together with the combined input from others on this developing Forum could be extremely beneficial.
I have always gained a lot of satisfaction from advising and helping individuals who are either thinking of becoming a Tourist Guide or Tour Operator but don’t know where to start, or what it all entails. The fact that my previous business background greatly assisted my own endeavours as a small business owner was invaluable when assessing the inevitable risks of going it alone.
Endorsements received over the years, both in the line of visitor interaction, and ad hoc information sessions with wannabe Tourist Guides encouraged me to utilise my own background, in a genuine effort to help them reach their own personal goals.
At this point, I invite you to get a cup of coffee, and a few biscuits. Why ? because you are going to click Meet Merve and become engrossed, or not, in a more detailed personal story.
Listening to my peers, together with my own previous business background, was invaluable when facing my own mid-life watershed, and assessing the inevitable risks of going it alone.
“If only I’d known” are words all too familiar, emanating from individuals I have known over the years who simply didn’t appreciate what it actually takes to be a committed Tourist Guide. One soon to be ex Guide I once knew quipped:- “Muhammed Ali must have been a Tourist Guide once – he was so good at rolling with the punches !”
The broader intention is to build on the “together” bit, and encourage any Tourist Guides anywhere, and I mean “anywhere”, to contribute their own experiences, anecdotes, stories, advice etc, so that not only aspiring entrants to the world of Tourism can potentially benefit, but that we all do. Input from anybody in Tourism that has regular contact with Tourist Guides would also be most welcome which would provide objectivity from diverse sectors.
On the basis that Tourist Guides are perpetual students, what better way to expand one’s horizons than sharing knowledge, experiences, opinions etc with each other, whilst potentially assisting aspirant Tourist Guides in the process.
Already the new technological concepts being grappled with are constantly threatening my own comfort zone – again ! But heh, comfort zones breed complacency, and that’s never a good idea. Besides, having a small group of 8 to 12-year-olds on hand to help the pen and quill generation is not the worst strategy I’ve ever heard of.
Once one starts understanding that acronyms such as FOMO are not an upmarket washing powder, and that PPC is not a reference to a well known cement company, the world of Social Media starts to have a stimulating attraction all of its own.
In keeping with the concept of baby steps, I will make an attempt to wobble up to some sort of walking pace by posting a few comments under different subject headings in an attempt to illustrate the sort of forum that I hope will develop. However, nothing will be cast in stone, and constructive input, comment, suggestions will be warmly welcomed.
To the person who says “I know it all”, reflect on these wise words:-
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.