Why would I be a Tourist Guide NOW ?!
Why indeed, would I be a Tourist Guide now ? It’s a question that has flitted into my own head recently, prompted by the same query being posed by one or two aspirant wannabe’s. Or perhaps that should more correctly be, “used to be wannabe’s”.
Without any undue thought or prompting, the first thing that instinctively popped into my head was one of the few principles that actually did stick, from many mind-numbing training courses of Corporate yesteryear. It was the principle of simply reversing a question, in order to turn a negative frame of mind into a positive one.
The example indelibly imprinted on my memory was the bucket half-empty response to a suggestion when met with the mindset, “why I can’t”, which clearly indicates the negativity of preconceived defeat. Change two words around and the reversal is instantaneously positive i.e., “why can’t I ?”.
That simple juxtaposition of words when similarly applied to the substitution of just one word, easily turns, “why would I be a Tourist Guide now ?” into “why shouldn’t I be a Tourist Guide now ?” Voila ! the bucket miraculously becomes half full, indicating that the lifestyle of a Tourist Guide is not lurking somewhere at the bottom of that euphemistic bucket after all. It’s now positively on its way up to the top half, forgetting there ever was a negative bottom half.
OK, so now to back up that flowery intro with some cold, hard reasoning.
I am in no way trivialising the deadly serious and threatening pandemic of Covid 19 that has so rapidly engulfed the whole planet. This, unseen illness for which there is as yet no vaccine, and potentially death lurking everywhere is too frightening to contemplate. With the “new normal” being redefined on a daily basis, with little or no agreement in what that actually means, one thing appears to be a constant. Life as we knew it, will be forever altered.
It is not necessary to repeat here all the extremely well, and regularly documented information, both politically and medically https://sacoronavirus.co.za/ as it governs our daily lives. There are many more websites providing up to date information, so no reason not to be adequately informed. Merely keeping up with the media which, rightly, has taken saturation coverage to a new level, it would be next to impossible to not know how it’s all developing, and what our own responsibilities are.
So, why would I be a Tourist Guide ? The immediate thought that came to me were two practical comparisons from the financial world of Investing. Firstly, sell high and buy low. Secondly, don’t panic and sell in a falling market. Allied to the latter, is the reality that a loss is only realised when a sale takes place at a lower cost than the original purchase. Until the physical act of selling happens, it’s only a devaluation, with no loss occurring at all.
My senses are now finely tuned, ready to repel the comment that so often accompanies that second revelation, and invariably accompanied by an example. It goes something like this, “on checking my investment portfolio this morning I was horrified to see that I had lost X thousand Rand in just a week”. No, you haven’t. Unless you actually sold, then all that’s happened is that your investment value has gone down.
The cyclical nature of financial markets dictates that by not panicking, and rather holding your nerve, the values will increase again, ultimately leading to a higher valuation. Then sell if you must, and Bingo, make a profit.
Superimposing that train of positive thinking onto Tourist Guiding, then Covid 19 has pretty much seen Tourism in general subjected to it’s own rapidly falling market, including a similar lack of employment opportunities for Tourist Guides. Pretty depressing heh. At first sight absolutely, but now let’s think it through.
Continuing with the Investment analogy, if your objective is to become a Tourist Guide, then in keeping with the “buy low” principle, the opportunity remains as good as ever it was, and maybe even better.
Why ? By looking at this extremely unique, and hopefully one-off situation we currently find ourselves in, then no reason not to undergo all the necessary training as per normal. As you wouldn’t be employed or earning as a Guide for the duration of the training, there is no change there. The one given is that Tourism will recover, just as investment markets do, so you could well be ready for assessment and registration by the time the new normal is in progress or has indeed returned.
In the event Training Institutions are not geared up to continue training by remote means in this temporary era of social distancing etc, then another pro-active opportunity to fill in time presents itself. Tourist Guides being perpetual students, self-study, research, and generally keeping up with current affairs can be as fascinating as it is ultimately endless.
For currently registered Tourist Guides may be thinking of throwing in the towel, the decision is that much simpler. Just keep the registration going. This might be particularly sensitive if close to re-registration, but the same applies. If you “sell” then you’ve definitely lost.
In addition, there are Organisations out there lobbying the Government hard for some sort of financial relief package in respect of Tourist Guides. One such body is the National Federation of Tourist Guides Associations who deserve the support and good wishes of all Guides in their undoubtedly difficult, but well-intended efforts.
It’s true that Tourist Guiding is massively devalued at the moment, but just like financial markets, the upswing will return. In either case, forward plan and be ready for it.