Parcels containing essential food items were distributed to tourist guides in need in Gauteng this weekend
The National Federation of Tourist Guides and Affiliates (NFTGA) had been raising money to put together enough food parcels to distribute nationwide, and is still pursuing its target of around R230 000 (€11 360).
“Many of our donations have been from locals offering what they can,” said NFTGA Spokesperson Francois Collin. He told Tourism Update that a few larger donations had come from international donors but the goal amount was still some way off.
“We got a call from a woman who told us ‘I have buckets for you’ and we were confused because we hadn’t purchased or put together any of the food buckets yet,” said Collin. The woman on the phone was Owner of Ritz Travel, Yolanda Cardoso-Naidoo who, through a fund-raising initiative by her travel agency, has gathered extra food parcels.
“In May I became an agent for Solidarity Buckets as I wanted to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate during this challenging time. To be part of this amazing charity initiative has been so rewarding and Ritz Travel Kyalami has received in total 101 food bucket donations thus far, feeding 404 people for a two-week period, which is incredible,” said Cardoso-Naidoo
She said all the buckets that were donated in July were put toward the NFTGA’s fund. “It’s been the best feeling helping this wonderful organisation which has made such a difference in the tourism industry.”
“She said she was based in Midrand so we immediately phoned our registered guides in Gauteng asking who was in desperate need of assistance,” said Collin. Over 50 guides responded, saying they desperately needed food.
While the need was more than Cardoso-Naidoo could provide, she made a plan to fill the gap, ensuring all guides who had asked for help would receive it.
While the NFTGA was “thrilled” to be able to provide some relief to guides in Gauteng, it still needed support to do the same in other provinces, said Collin. “We need to get exposure so that we can roll out to other provinces and rural areas where there is much poverty and where not only families but whole communities rely on tourism to survive.”
Tourist guides have been without income for the duration of South Africa’s lockdown, due to the restrictions on travel. A Tourist Guide Relief Fund was created in May to offer financial relief to registered guides, the first payments of which were only made on July 30. To assist guides in financial distress, the NFTGA partnered with Tourvest Destination Management to create the NFTGA SOS Tourist Guide and Driver Campaign.
“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,” said TDM Head Guide and Special Projects Manager, Alicia Kirk, emphasising the importance of guides in the tourism industry.