Tour Operators In South Africa
A Day In The Life Of Brian
By Lumka Shabalala
Tour operators in South Africa
A simple google search for tour operators in South Africa yields about 1,250 000 results there are many people who fancy themselves able to show others the South African way of living.
Wikipedia defines a tour operator as one who typically combines tour and travel components to create a packaged holiday. The question that comes to mind is this, is it this simple in the days of information at everyone’s fingertips?
What does a tour operator do?
Tour operators are responsible for ensuring that travel arrangements run as smoothly as possible from beginning to end, as well as providing practical support throughout the trip. Tour operators have in-depth knowledge of a particular area/region and may act as tour guides during the tour. They use their language skills, and knowledge of the culture or history of an area, to ensure the tour goes smoothly and that their clients enjoy themselves.
So the other day we asked Brian about his experience as a tour guide with Imbizo Tours what his experiences were and what he generally thinks about the state of tour operators in Gauteng.
What training did you undergo, and where?
To become a qualified tour guide you have to complete a THETA-approved tour guide course (several establishments offer this). My training with Mandy was a result of wanting a better life and making sure I learned from the best. I’ve been involved in various industries over the years, from hospitality to the taxi industry, and they have all aided in building experience, which I benefit from immensely in my day-to-day operations.
Describe a typical day on the job
On tour days, I collect guests and take them on a Soweto tour, providing quite a bit of education regarding the various stops, their history, and most importantly meeting the people that make our culture and land so unique – all presented in an informative, but not too stuffy or pretentious way. Office days vary from dealing with bookings, to showing school groups around the newly established Soweto Inspirational Home Museum, at other times marketing and product development is the order of the day. I enjoy the diversity.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Job satisfaction, creating an awareness and appreciation of how we live in Soweto, developing products that are unique, and providing travelers with a different perspective on our country and its diverse culture. I also enjoy assisting in the various community development initiatives which Imbizo Tours has and ‘giving back’ where I can.
What don’t you like?
Self-righteous people that think the world owes them a huge favour!
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Seeing the development of the Soweto Inspirational Home Museum from the ground up and being given the opportunity to capitalise on my skills and experience and spearhead a new approach to tourism in Soweto and around Gauteng.
Are there certain traits one should possess?
In this position you have to be a people person, which no training can provide for because it’s a personality thing. You also need foresight, to be able to identify problems before they arise, to think on your feet and, of course, to have a love for travel.
Any advice for someone starting out?
Always be honest; be willing to learn from others; know that the more you put in, the more rewarding it becomes; if you have ideas, explore them, but don’t stay a dreamer – act on them and make it happen!
Of all the tour operators in Gauteng Imbizo Tours is always willing to teach their unique approach to tourism to any learner willing to show the world the best that Gauteng has to offer. Imbizo tours also comes from the communities which they operate in and because of this they stand on the unique position of being able to offer the best insights on what makes the communities great.
How do I book a tour?
What does each tour cost?
The price for the Johannesburg city tour is an all-time low R690 per person.
But when you combine the Soweto or Alexandra tour.
Another option is to expericnce the best of the best and see both Johannesburg and Soweto with Mandy, the incredible woman who brought tourism to Soweto on a private tour. If Joburg is not your cup of tea then please have a look at our other tour options here