A Policy Review of the Tourist Guiding Sector in South Africa


To Minister of Tourism 

RE: A Policy Review of the Tourist Guiding Sector in South Africa by Prof. Harris, CR Botha, TC da Gama and SE Pretorius of the Department of Heritage and Historical Studies of the University of Pretoria.

It is with great concern that we eventually found and read this report which seems incomplete and is being used by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) to carve a path forward for the tourist guiding profession. In the report, continuous references are made with other countries and rightly so, to build a case for a well-regulated industry in South Africa, but very little documentation is used from what really exists in South Africa. The comparative sections of the ACT and regulations are a great tool and this is much appreciated. Many of the solutions alluded to through the comparisons have already been tried in the Tourist guiding sector, and if proper consultation and research were done, items proposed in the research paper would have been realised that it has been tried and failed in previous years. 

The Institute of Professional Tourist Guides of Southern Africa (IPTGSA) would like to make the following comments 

  1. A national tourist guide association was constituted in 2005 at a national conference in Soweto by all provinces.
    • only Cape Town, Gauteng, and Kwa-Zulu Natal followed through on establishing hybrids of the provincial associations. Items like the geographical spread of guides and lack of funds were given for the reason of its failure.
    • Gauteng Guides Association's constitution is still the original constitution adopted at the national conference in 2005.
    • NDT did not want to recognise the National Tourist Guide Association.
  2. South Africa has a great educational system (NQF) and the incorporation of the qualification for tourist guides is a great part of the SAQA educational system and one of the leaders in the world.
    • Part of the NQF Act is the Policy And Criteria For Recognising A Professional Body and Registering A Professional Designation For The Purposes Of The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act, Act 67 Of 2008
    • Nowhere in the research document does it allude to the fact that professionalisation has already being legislated in South Africa and that professional bodies need to apply for registration with SAQA. 
  3. The Institute for Professional Tourist Guides of SA  was already registered with CIPC in 2011 while the path was formed to have a professional body for tourist guides.
    • IPTGSA has been at the forefront of setting up an organisation for professional tourist guides taking into consideration all the requirements by SAQA for a professional body and part promise that it will be included in the Tourism Act 3 2014 revision of the legislation. The inaugural meeting of the IPTGSA was in June 2014 with all documentation in place, even SAQA site inspections.
    • The IPTGSA professional body application was turned down by SAQA as NDT would not endorse the Institution and no inclusions of professionalism were included in the revised legislation.
    • Throughout the period of the research, IPTGSA representatives attended every annual feedback session making sure that researchers knew the IPTGSA existed and that input would be supplied, not once was the IPTGSA approached for information for the research and it can be seen as nothing on professionalisation have been included even though professionalisation is legislated in the SAQA Act.
    • The IPTGSA knowledge base was read but never included in any of the research which makes this study incomplete and suggests information that is old and outdated.
    • The IPTGSA is referenced in the UP research document and mentioned 4 times, the definition of "Professional" has been copied verbatim from the IPTGSA website. 
    • Also, for a document of some 324 pages, the research of tourist guides was only conducted on two separate occasions, and these interactions were at minor events. No mention was made of the number of enrolments each year at our universities and institutes of higher education, to study tourism. Surely this must be included in the study, to make for a fully informed decision on this important sector in the South African economy?

In conclusion, the IPTGSA would like to make it known that it is unacceptable that such mediocre and incomplete research would be used by the NDT to forge a path forward for tourist guides in South Africa.

"Because of the nature of the tourist guide’s services, they do not possess the social conventional office space or the actual business premises, so conceptually tourist guides do not fit into the “small enterprise” image. With hidden visibility as well as a limited public reputation and bearing in mind the “concealed” status of tourist guiding as a profession, its members are often regarded as mentioned before the “orphans of the [tourism] industry”." (UP research document)

The Tourist guide is the greatest ambassador and marketing agent of our beloved country and works on the frontline of tourism. The Tourist guide can break or make tourists love our country, there is no better advertisement as a tourist going home and rave about their holiday, and wanting to return.

The IPTGSA appreciate working together with any institution in building the future of Tourist Guiding in South Africa 


Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world (Nelson Mandela)