The National Federation of Tourist Guides and Affiliates (NFTGA) was announced this week in Pretoria, South Africa, hailing the emergence of a united body and voice to represent tourist guides across the country.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the National Department of Tourism, with Uveshnee Pillay, Director of Tourist Guiding at the NDT, as the Department's driver behind the initiative. The aim is to create a single point of contact for tourist guides across the country – and have inclusive representation of Registered Tourist Guides – to champion their causes within the greater tourism industry.

While the association will only officially launch next year, a steering committee has been put in place to set up the initiation and operating structure of the body. Members of the steering committee were drawn from industry stakeholders across the full spectrum of tourism service providers, including tour operators, guide trainers, specialist and regional guide associations, industry bodies such as the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), and parastatals such as SANParks, to ensure an all-inclusive representation. These include:

  • Alisha Belo Kirk (tourist guide) – representing the industry (from Tourvest Destination Management)
  • Bernice Kelly – representing nature guides/assessors (from the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa)
  • Francois Gilbert Collin (tourist guide) – representing culture/nature/foreign language guides (French, Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Hannelie du Toit – representing the broader interests of the tourism industry (Satsa)
  • Javier Garcia – representing the industry (from Kobo Safaris)
  • Jeremy Energy Howard (tourist guide) – representing guides (Cape Tourist Guides Association Vice Chairman)
  • Joep Stevens – representing the industry (from SANParks)
  • Joleen Du Plessis (tourist guide) – representing foreign language guides (German) and the industry (Accredited Guide Training Service Providers, Western Cape)
  • Julien Paul Gregory Janssen – representing the industry (from Cullinan Holdings)
  • Kanya Kali (tourist guide) – representing guides (legal representative on the steering committee and a practising lawyer)
  • Maria Louise Kruger (tourist guide) – representing guides and the industry (Accredited Guide Training Service Providers, Gauteng)
  • Maura Ronchietto (tourist guide) – representing foreign language guides (from GIGA)
  • Zania Collin (tourist guide) – representing culture/nature guides and the industry (training providers and tour directors)

“The NFTGA is about inclusivity, upliftment, empowerment and, most importantly, access to key decision-makers in government and parastatals, so that we, as guides, can be recognised as an important part of the tourism SA family, and not an afterthought to it,” says Francois Collin.

“For the steering committee, we have looked at associations and groups that are the most active and visible in negotiating benefits and representing their members,” continues Collin. “This does not restrict or place a limit on who will be represented by the NFTGA; but by bringing the people that we have on board, we are convinced that we will have a dedicated committee that will look after the broader interests of the whole guiding community, and not only that of small groups.”