Those who know me know that I am active in the tourism industry countrywide, either on a site visit or a more informal evaluation of service quality as a guest. Some of my pet peeves are poor service and false or deceptive advertising. Recently all the rage, it seems, is the ‘bandwagon’ emergence of foreign exploitation by local operators.
Not long ago I published a letter from foreigners who had been misled by a disreputable SA tour operator. As a result the travel industry has initiated process to rid the industry of all its rotten apples once-and-for-all…
NOW, I note the emergence of ‘unofficial’ travel trips/ tours offered by unregistered, unaccredited ‘go-getters’ to colleagues and friends intentionally or otherwise. What people don’t realise is that these travel-entrepreneurs can and do affect the credibility of the South African travel industry. Additionally, unauthorised travel offerings negatively affect the economic viability of registered agents and guides.
As travellers we must accept that government-imposed policies and related restrictions on travel-offerings are for the protection of YOU, the traveller.
I urge you not to support these illegal tour offerings and to ensure that you do not support any ‘so-called’ guided tour without ensuring that the individual is accredited. Question the validity of the information given to you! Invariably the accuracy of the information is questionable. Ask yourself whether the price looks correct- especially when flight fares are excluded. You are, inevitably, funding the ‘vendor’s’ trip and yours. It’s patently wrong and you are, sadly, usually the victim of exploitation. Enquire about your safety, travel insurance, public liability and baggage insurance. When things go wrong, and they do, who will you hold responsible? One more thing, an indemnity is not worth the paper it’s written on if there’s negligence involved.
You wouldn’t shop for groceries at a museum. Neither would you buy your car insurance from your dentist. Why then would you even contemplate a travel-trip offered by your attorney, car-mechanic, your ‘hobby-colleague’ or even your best friend especially if money changes hands.
Lead SA and be responsible! Shop at the right ‘store’..
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