20 June 2014, an extraordinary date in tourist guiding, the inaugural meeting for the IPTGSA was held in Benoni and 26 career guides made the decision to proceed with establishing the IPTGSA and adopt the interim constitution.
From 2000 it was a struggle to try and unify tourist guides in South Africa, provincial associations were launched to represent guides and very quickly it was realised that associations can only exist in close proximity of many guides and usually don't have funds to have a long life. In 2005 a national conference was held in Soweto and it was decided that there would be a national association that would feed down to the provincial associations and supported by the Department of Tourism. The lack of support and large geographical provinces made the model very difficult to get off the ground.
2007 saw the launch of the Federation of South African Tourist Guides (FSATGA) which planned to solve the problem and incorporate all the different associations in guiding with one representative federation, the lack of buy-in from different associations made the FSATGA redundant very quickly.
2008 saw the adoption of the SAQA professional body act and a group of career guides decided that this would be an independent way of representing professional tourist guides. The next few years were spent researching and formulating a structure that would conform with the professional body act. The inaugural launch in 2014 was the culmination of this work and taken to the tourist guides. The chosen committee at the inaugural meeting was tasked to get the red tape completed and plan the first launch of the AGM which culminated in 2017. With a complete registered non-profit company and all red tape required, the Institute of Professional Tourist Guides of Southern Africa (IPTGSA) was launched.
The last seven years have been a rollercoaster highway with the game posts been changed and rules amended, competing with social media groups supposedly representing tourist guides. IPTGSA has rumbled ahead, sticking to the vision and mission to represent professional tourist guides, giving them the backup and education on the career path development set out in the mission statement.
Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions have changed tourist guide's lives and many have found alternate ways of generating an income. Tourism, as we knew it will never be the same, as and when it returns. The IPTGSA stands strong in its position to help any member in the way forward and offers ongoing educationals to keep the knowledge going and the morale up. IPTGSA has suspended all membership fees due to Covid and understands the difficulty members are enduring.
Celebrating seven years of service to its members I would like to thank all the dedicated members that have been part of IPTGSA, and that what IPTGSA equates too, will help grow the membership and service.
Integrity - Ethics - Excellence - Professionalism
Johan van Biljon
Geluk IPTGSA. Dankie vir al die werk tot hede. Bewys dat IPTGSA is vasbyters en sal nie onder gekry word nie.
Glo IPTGSA sal tot groot hoogtes styg!