Advice for Young Women in Tourism

The Best Advice for Young Women in Tourism

The very nature of tourism is built on creating memorable experiences for travellers. Tourism offers diverse career choices including guiding, travel planning, hotel management, event co-ordination, cheffing and so much more. These roles all require skills such as creativity, dedication and passion and offer a fulfilling and exciting career. As a young woman, tourism needs your unique contribution, you are capable of extraordinary things – here’s how to get started.

  • Embrace your unique qualities and talents, be confident in who you are.
  • Break stereotypes by chasing your dreams regardless of traditional gender roles.
  • Education is your superpower. Knowledge will empower you and open doors. If possible consider pursuing formal education this will give you a strong foundation but remember that practical, hands-on experience is equally important. Seek out internships, apprenticeships and volunteering.
  • Have a passion for travel – be enthusiastic about experiencing new cultures and destinations.
  • You must have or develop strong communication skills. Both verbal and written communication are essential in tourism. You will be interacting with guests, colleagues and service providers every day.
  • Be adaptable, this industry is dynamic and you can be assured that unpredictable situations will arise. It is also a 24/7 occupation, you will be faced with challenges like seasonality and irregular working hours, women generally have an innate ability to adapt, sharpen your flexibility skills.
  • In our tourism youth workshops we talk about the importance of creating solid networks, part of your adaptability should include the agility to call on your network to step in with a helping hand. Your networks also offer opportunities to collaborate, share resources and add value to one another. Grow your networks by joining associations and attending conferences, events and workshops.
  • Problem solving is vital to being successful in our sector, consider these your best learning opportunities. Learn and move forward.
  • Sustainability is on the front burner for tourism globally. You should be aware and actively seek out ways to be more sustainable. The United Nations has defined goals in place, click here for more information :

In summary, have a healthy dose of kindness and compassion. Take care of your physical and mental health, surround yourself with supportive women and endorse other women in business and in life. Dream big and work hard, your voice matters.

Lindsey Gibaud
Big Tree Marketing
August 2023

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Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

Yes, I’m homeward bound after being one of the first South Africans to travel to the USA after President Biden lifted travel restrictions on 31 December 2021.

My visit was a trip to see my son in Texas.  I won’t go into the drama filled detail leading to my departure suffice to say we changed my flight seven times and in the end, I missed Christmas and New Year with him but I got there and for that I am very thankful.

My trip to Texas included a week in New York and Washington DC.  I have travelled widely but this was my first visit to America and the chance to visit the Big Apple and DC was top of my bucket-list.   Being winter, the weather was a shocker resulting in a 9-hour delay in Houston to LaGuardia.  We arrived in NY around 1am to discover that this indeed is the city that never sleeps.  Not wasting any time, we headed to Times Square at 3am finding New Year’s Eve confetti still in the streets.  At this late hour people were milling around, a few pot-selling merchants were hustling for another sale and a few stores still trading.

Lady Liberty

Our boat tour to the Statue of Liberty on a very cold afternoon resulted in a very special photograph with a crucifix cloud positioned directly above Lady Liberty.   We spent a number of hours at the 9/11 Memorial, this tragic day deeply affected me and was a priority on my to-see list.

Travel during a Pandemic

America is in their Omicron peak which was evident by the many free Covid testing stations located on New York street corners and mall parking lots in Washington.  Mask wearing was mandatory in New York and Washington and we were asked to produce vaccination certificates and proof of ID at all restaurants, museums, airports and Federal buildings.  Texas is a Republican state giving individuals the right to make their own choice regarding mask wearing and far fewer people wear them.

Regrettably we were only able to visit the Natural History Museum in Washington as all other Smithsonian museums were closed due to Covid.  At least we have new experiences for our next visit.  We spent a couple of hours in the Arlington National Cemetery where over 400 000 souls have been laid to rest.  On this cold morning I was moved to discover that each resting place had a Christmas wreath placed at its headstone.  This considerable undertaking is done yearly by volunteers who honour those who have given their lives to America.   Our tour guide told us that on Memorial Day an American flag is placed at each grave.  Our visit to Arlington National Cemetery was a quiet and humbling experience.

Time was limited and unfortunately, I missed the chance to visit two tourism friends who live in New York.  In Washington however I was able to spend an evening cooking dinner and drinking local wines with a school friend.  What a wonderful catch up, I am hoping to see her in SA for our 30th reunion later this year.

Appetite for Travel

The appetite for travel remains strong.  Mine was influenced by the desire to see my son.  It is obvious that challenges to global travel remain but the inconvenience is small compared to the memories created, new friends made and value of experiencing new cultures.

South Africa has so much to offer visitors.  Our country will inspire you; it will leave you speechless at its vast beauty, big blue skies, scenic vista’s and people with heart.   South Africa has an energy that will touch your soul, its charm and vibrancy is colourful and sincere.  We are open and ready for international tourists, our outdoor lifestyle, social distancing, a vaccinated population and mandatory mask wearing we cover all the bases in terms of safety protocols.  We have some of the best medical care in the world and it is affordable.

Travel restrictions and safety protocols have made travel a lot more challenging but for those with adventure in their heart it is worth jumping the hoops.

South Africa is ready

Nelson Mandela said it best: ‘As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give permission to others to do the same’.  South Africa is a beacon to the continent, we have a thriving tourism industry.  Some of the best lodges, hotels, restaurants and attractions reside on the tip of Africa.  Our wines win awards across the world.  Breath-taking safaris stays are accessible in Southern Africa.

South Africa is tourism ready.  What are you waiting for?

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Increase brand performance

How to increase your brand reach, performance AND save costs

Let’s talk about the “pivot”…

The buzz word I am hearing everywhere is ‘pivot’. More than likely you have too, it is over-used and quite frankly I find it annoying.

It is mostly heard when companies are explaining how they are managing to survive during lockdown by ‘pivoting’ their businesses. Here’s an example, a restaurant has pivoted its offering to now provide meal-kits, curbside take-aways and contact-free purchasing.

Our Model is already flexible

While this is trending, some of us have been operating in a commercially savvy way for years. Our model is based on co-operation which enables flexibility (read pivoting) to adapt to the peaks and troughs that seem to follow the hospitality and tourism sector. Remember unabridged birth certificates, Ebola, the recent drought …

Big Tree Marketing is a small business and being small makes us nimble. We have built our business on collaborations with a strong foundation of trust, respect and willingness to reach our common goal. Our approach is to increases performance while saving costs which makes good business sense in today’s ‘Coronacoaster’ world.

Collaboration is key

Collaboration increases brand reach, aligns resources and speeds up solutions. Buyers embrace the signal from one brand that another brand can be trusted, this is exactly how Big Tree Marketing brings new partners to the negotiating table of bona fida buyers.

Connect with heritage relationships built over 20 years, proven skills and experience at a fraction of the cost of paying a full-time marketing executive.

Cost-effective marketing solutions

So, if you are looking for a marketing solution that is cost effective, has an unbroken track record and is above all affordable contact us now.

50% rebate for September and October 2020 retainers on new clients – for more info email

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The Kelway Hotel Now Open

“Thank you for your hospitality…

…and for taking such good care of us!”

‘Thank you for your hospitality and for taking such good care of us’ This is some of the guest feedback at The Kelway Hotel.

The Kelway Hotel Now Open

The hotel opened on 22 June under strict Covid19 safety protocols with a small dedicated team offering full-service dinner, bed and breakfast and the utmost attention to detail. Despite the many challenges facing all suppliers into the tourism value chain, The Kelway Hotel were one of the first in Port Elizabeth to open its doors to guests.

Hands-on personal attention

Hotel General Manager Liezel Haarhoff said ‘Although we are obviously not filling all our rooms, we are open and guests are checking in. Our small team is very hands-on giving personal attention while ensuring guest and personal safety and we are very encouraged by the feedback and appreciation we are getting.’ With all businesses having to re-think operating logistics within severe safety processes the hotel team have learnt to streamline in some areas and innovate in others. All staff have been trained and are certified according to TBCSA guidelines and the hotel was granted the Stay-Safe-Eat-Safe badge giving guests peace of mind.

The Kelway is fully compliant with TBCSA guidelines.

Technology Solutions

Some of these processes include; signage indicating safe arrival procedures, check- in is paperless using QR codes with sanitized pens for anyone needing to jot anything down. Breakfast menus are also ordered through QR codes with options to eat in-room or at socially distanced tables in the restaurant. Rooms are cleaned using a new set of clothes with good quality cleaning solutions with high touch areas receiving additional attention. Once cleaned and inspected the rooms are sealed until guest check in.

Green Solutions

Some of the back of house changes include drastically reducing waste to landfills, composting and a view to growing some fresh produce themselves.

To read a full description of The Kelway Hotel safety protocols please Click Here.

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Game Lodge Specials

Post-Lockdown Safari Specials

Garden Route Game Lodge Specials

Safari Specials are back. Blessed with winter rains, the veld is looking truly magnificent this winter, with the Aloes in full floom. Nature never locks down and Garden Route Game Lodge’s prolific wildlife are waiting to welcome you back.

Peace of mind when you book your next bush break

Garden Route Game Lodge has been using this time during lockdown to prepare for the safe return of their valued guests. Whilst you may notice a few changes, their commitment to the safety and well-being of guests remains at the heart of their approach to hospitality.

Take advantage of these amazing safari specials, tailored for families and couples alike. Now is the time to experience our local offerings whilst international borders are still closed. Read our blog post on South Africa as an attractive long-haul destination here.

Wild Winter Warmer

Wild Winter Warmer

Stay 3 Nights, Only Pay for 2

Family Fun Safari

Outdoor Adventure Safari

Love Safari

Rates are valid from June to September 2020. Garden Route Game Lodge’s Covid-19 prepardeness and cancellation policies offer you peace of mind when you book your next stay. For more information on the Covid-19 preparedness at Garden Route Game Lodge, click here.

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South Africa

South Africa an attractive long haul destination

South Africa will be an attractive destination when long haul travel starts up again

We strongly believe that South Africa will be an attractive destination when Long Haul travel opens again.  Globally we have had one of the strictest safety protocols. Could our severe regulations indicate that SA is taking this virus very seriously and the safety of people is paramount?  When tourists are deciding which destination to visit, surely this will put us ahead of a number of other countries who have not been as diligent in managing the pandemic?

Open Spaces

Our vast spaces where visitors can remain largely in their ‘bubble’ while enjoying the abundant wildlife and nature on offer here.  Private escorted family tours, exclusive use game viewing vehicles and small group nature walks are already popular, this will become high priority when bookings start rolling in again.

Safety Protocols

Tourism suppliers are working hard at putting safety protocols in place to ensure guest well-being is as fail-safe as possible.  Guidelines for hotels, guest houses, transport suppliers and attractions are all being fine-tuned with the aim of ensuring maximum safety.

Value for money

Let’s not forget our attractive exchange rate for inbound visitors, the ZAR has weakened significantly over the past few months giving tourists more value for their money when they land on our shores.


South Africans have heart and the tourism sector, while crawling through this prolonged challenge, is hard at work sharing ideas, safety guidelines and encouraging one another.  We work in the small to medium enterprise level and without doubt the most encouraging feature of this lockdown has been support shown to one another. 

South Africa is naturally a beautiful country; nature, views, experiences, culture, adventure, food and of course wines but the greatest beauty in my mind is the heart of its people.

Thabo Mbeki’s poem ‘I am an African’ ends with these words ‘Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now. Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace!’.   And so this too will pass and we will find peace and happiness and success in tourism in South Africa again soon.

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Tourism in Lockdown

Tourism in Lockdown

Tourism MUST move to a higher lockdown level to survive

After the initial shock that the Covid19 Virus had arrived in South Africa, the realization that tourism is probably going to be the very last sector to recover seeped into everyday discussions.

Based on the webinar from South Africa Tourism on 11 May here is an update of the current situation with links to submitting protocol guidelines that are urgently being called for to move tourism higher up in the lockdown levels.

Without doubt South Africans believe that although we have no clue when we are going to move between levels, this movement depends on the trajectory of the pandemic and the sliding scale is based on variables beyond our control.

Leisure tourism is projected to be active at level 1 with business tourism coming online slightly ahead in level 2. Based on the current trajectory with September 2020 forecast to be the peak of infection, it is therefore clear that level 2 will start in November and Level 1 in January 2021. Our industry simply cannot wait too many businesses will just not survive until then.

Government’s aim is to hold the pandemic back, on the other hand tourism is about moving people to different areas. What protocols in terms of health and operations can we put in place to de-risk the sector in order to move tourism into a higher lockdown level?

All Tourism Associations are calling for urgent submissions from members and non- members which will be collated and submitted to government through the Tourism Minister.

These guideline submissions (de-risking) will hopefully enable certain aspects of the industry to re-open before levels 1 and 2 thereby giving tourism a better chance of recovery.

Have your voice heard:

Here are the links to submit your recommendations:
Also visit or

Submissions close 12:00 midday Thursday 14 May.

Finally, SA Tourism believes that recovery will be led by domestic then regional, followed by international bookings. Key source markets will clearly also need to be in-line with destinations, no matter how prepared we are if those countries are not able to travel there is little chance of seeing business from those source markets.

VFR’s (Visiting Friends and Relatives) will probably start first and are categorized as
Phase 1, with not much revenue generation.
Phase 2 will generate revenue with overnights and air travel.
Phase 1 is expected to be mainly self-drive travel.Phase 2 being air travel across Africa. We cannot assume that the same airlines will be operating and in the same schedules. Re-negotiations will be needed because we will want to link with other countries that have managed their pandemic well.
International | Long Haul
Phase 1 International carriers resume flights under globally accepted safety standards (not yet in place)
Phase 2 full recovery in progress

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covid-19 and tourism

Covid-19 and tourism- An SMME’S thoughts

How is Covid-19 affecting tourism SMME’s in South Africa. What effect is the full lock down having on the smaller tourism players? Many tourism stakeholders are in shock and are scrambling to survive in the wake of the Covid-19 virus.

There is a mood of deep concern among industry players. There is also one of rallying around supporting one another with many group chats and emails sharing encouragement. Today, I was alerted to the possibility of creating a tourism support network into the healthcare system. This would involve collaboration between hotels, transport and catering suppliers. 

I understand from tourism authorities and large hotel chain management that we are looking not so much at recovery but rather towards re-configuration. The belief is that inbound tourism needs to look deeply at customer needs and reverse engineer offerings that suit demand. This is especially important when considering that the global competition is going to be strong.

The understanding is that recovery will be led by local consumption, with corporate travel probably leading the way. Personally, as a small SMME I am reliant on clients to pay their monthly retainers for my marketing services. As a result of my clients not being paid, the problem flows downstream and they, in turn, are not able to pay me.

Of particular concern, is that some of South Africa’s inbound giants are withholding payments to suppliers for guests who have already travelled, and in fact are back in their home country. These same corporations are asking my clients to also not charge cancellation fees – making this a double loss for suppliers into the tourism value chain.

This too will pass, but how long can we sustain ourselves until then? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keep up-to-date on the Covid-19 Situation in South Africa – visit

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