What’s a tour guide without tourists? A discussion with Johannesburg In Your Pocket

Tour Guide businesses have been among the first to feel the sting of the global Coronavirus crisis. Since early March, weeks before South Africa’s lockdown, international tourism was already starting to dry up in the country and from the end of March the streets emptied as the world ‘stayed at home’.

As part of our new series of online panel discussions with Joburg’s tourism and hospitality industry, on Wednesday June 17 we sat down with three small Joburg tour guide businesses to ask: what next for tour guides when the tourists stay home?

The discussion is part of a series we kicked off on May 27 with the team from Indaba Hotel, Spa & Conference Centre in Fourways, Johannesburg, shedding light on what it is like to operate as a quarantine hotel. Check out the ‘Life Inside a Quarantine Hotel’ webinar and talking points here and on June 8 we were joined by some of Joburg’s leading restauranteurs for a discussion about how to unlock the restaurant industry. Catch up on the ‘How to add restaurants back to the menu?‘ discussion here.

Johannesburg In Your Pocket publisher Laurice Taitz-Buntman was joined by Gerald Garner and Charlie Moyo from JoburgPlaces, Kennedy Tembo of Microadventure Tours and Jo Buitendach of Past Experiences.

In this online panel discussion the four professional tour guides discussed the new challenges presented by social distancing and the global crisis, how they have navigated reopening and their thoughts for the future of the Joburg tourism landscape post Covid-19.

Charlie Moyo and Gerald Garner from JoburgPlaces
Kennedy Tembo from Microadventure Tours
Jo Buitendach from Past Experiences

Key topics covered in this panel discussion

NEW IDEAS FOR MARKETING JOBURG TO FUTURE VISITORS: How can the lockdown be used as an opportunity to reset the marketing vision of Joburg? Which new markets can Joburg promote itself to? What unique experiences and attributes – such as Joburg’s pan-African nature, its unique history, cultural life and youthful energy – can make Joburg a compelling for local and international tourists?

VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES: Skills to consider when experimenting with online storytelling experiences and live virtual tours.

REMAINING TOP OF MIND LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY: How can you engage with potential local clients and also remain top of mind for international tourists who plan to postpone (rather than cancel) their holiday plans?

NAVIGATING NEW CHANGES AND ‘ON THE GROUND’ REALITIES: What changes might you need to consider to your experience while businesses remain closed? Do small businesses you partner with have the capacity to accept a group visit? How, and should, you include the current crisis into your narrative?

NEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS: Balancing wearing masks, indemnity forms, temperature checks and hand sanitisers with making clients feel both safe and comfortable.

GROUP SIZES VS PROFIBITLTY: Currently the safest way for tourism businesses to operate is to cater to small groups, preferably of people who know each other. How to balance concerns about profitability with the need to maintain long term recognition and reliability among your market.

Watch the full panel discussion online here

Next up on June 30: What’s a festival without a gathering?

At the next webinar in our series we will be talking to the organisers of some South Africa’s biggest festivals and events; Rucera Seethal artistic director of the National Arts Festival Makhanda, Osmic Menoe, founder of Africa’s biggest hip hop festival Back to the City Festival, DJ Kenzhero, co-founder of the Obrigadosa party series and of Artivist and UntitledBasement venues in Braamfontein, Joburg and Dawn Robertson, CEO of Constitution Hill (South Africa), home of the annual Basha Uhuru Freedom Fest and AFROPUNK Joburg.

We’ll focus on how the festival organisers have adjusted to the cancellations and postponements of their events and moved online to engage with new audiences locally and globally and what they think the future holds for festivals and events in the new era of social distancing.

What is a festival without a gathering? Rethinking festivals takes place on Tuesday June 30 at 15:00 on Zoom. Registration is essential. Register here.

Catch up on our previous panel discussion webinars!

In May we launched our Johannesburg In Your Pocket webinar series, talking to tourism and hospitality businesses about what it is like to operate during these strange times, and how to prepare for a future tourism landscape where social distancing will be the norm.

Catch up on previous panel discussions in the series:

Life inside a quarantine hotel with the team from Indaba Hotel, Spa & Conference Centre in Fourways, Johannesburg.

How to add restaurants back to the menu with David Higgs (Marble, Saint), Saul Mervis (The Grillhouse restaurants) and Sakhumzi Maqubela (Sakhumzi Restaurant).

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