This really is a work in progress after some travelling. I’m sure my thoughts will modify or change completely before the travels are over, and I would appreciate any comments you have to help me formulate my opinions. Here goes…
Two most important ingredients for tourism destinations
The first and most important is the people in that destination. Great destinations are those where the people take ownership of their public spaces, use them extensively without fear, take pride in them and expect others to respect them.
The second is the local authority. Their job is to keep their areas clean, well-maintained, secure and facilitate the widest possible public use of all public spaces.
Not everybody is suitable for a job in tourism or hospitality
A great staffer in the hospitality industry must be born to serve. But that does not mean they are servile or anything like that! It means they enjoy interacting with people, attending to their needs, and they get a kick out of making their guests/customers/patrons happy.
Unfortunately, many think that tourism/hospitality is a “sexy” industry to work in and apply for jobs without realising what’s really needed. Unfortunately, some employers don’t understand this either.
Employment Equity and BEE have screwed things further. You’re either good for the job or you’re not! Colour, race, gender, etc, just don’t count.
Where are the South Africans in the hospitality industry?
I’ve got into the habit of asking people who make an impression where they come from. They usually say Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria or Cameroons. I can only think of two exceptions – Schultz Mnisi from Tzaneen Country Lodge and a waiter at Capelands Wine Estate who I must still write about.
Are South Africans lazy? Maybe they expect more while giving less, but I think the real issue is confidence and the ability to engage and embrace strangers. South African education is also lacking and rarely teaches entrepreneurship.