This initiative is uniting SA tourism sector during grim effects of Covid-19
Despite how grim the travel sector looks due to the effects of Covid-19, people are pulling together to support those working in the tourism sector.
The launch of Mzansi Tourism Champions, an online platform dedicated to championing the needs of those working in the tourism field, is one example of how people are getting involved.
Heinie Bosman, one of the founders, said that Mzansi Tourism Champions is a collaborative effort across sectors, which hopes to bring immediate support or relief to immediate problems.
“The website matches people in need with people who can help. It’s very much a platform of ‘asks’ and ‘answers’. We hope that by building a network of people who can offer skills, advice and monetary donations that we’ll all be able to weather the storm," said Bosman.
A ‘strong collective’ is the at the heart of Mzansi Tourism Champions. Any individuals in the industry, from agents and operators, to freelance guides and business owners, can register on the website and set up a profile. Once they have a profile, they can either ask for help or offer assistance.
“Through an honest, supportive and constructive platform, we aim to unify current efforts. We want to bring various parties together to facilitate the distribution of donations, especially to those who are struggling to access relief funds and schemes," added Bosman.
The platform is not focused solely on financial support. According to Bosman, Mzansi Tourism Champions will act as a marketplace for a number of different services, from free legal advice to design or copywriting skills.
The website aims to connect people. In many ways, it is a simple, straightforward way for people in the tourism industry to support someone in need. But it is so much more. There are “Think Tank” discussions on how to improve the industry, how to innovate for the future and collaborative discussions on how to solve pressing industry issues and dilemmas.
Mzansi Tourism Champions also allows members (or champions) the opportunity to raise the profile of their own business, service or offering. One can write a blog about your travel adventures, share photographs and celebrate all that South Africa offers.
“We really hope that the industry will connect to share their wisdom, learnings and experiences over this time. We’re confident that this platform will offer the support needed – and that people will pay it forward.
“Any collaboration is welcome, and we’re hoping that the website and social media channels will grow significantly over the next few weeks. While the need is great, so are the number of people with the skills, energy and will to help," said Bosman.