What started as a few South African PR agencies joining forces to support the tourism industry following the devastating impact of Covid-19 has turned into a nationwide movement.
The 'South Africa is Travel Ready' initiative works alongside the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and SATSA in their efforts to lobby for a phased reopening of travel and tourism in the country.
One of the members Chelsey Hale told IOL Travel that the platform has since brought hundreds of tourism employees together as they unite to fight for the reopening of the sector.
Most of the travel sector is restricted due to level 3 lockdown regulations. Only business travel is currently permitted.
“The message of South Africa is Travel Ready is clear. We believe the industry is ready to reopen. The industry is adhering to protocols. We are ready for the industry to open safely. We are working night and day to keep the industry informed with up to date information and insights into our various lobbying efforts. Most importantly, we also offer support and boost morale,” she said.
Hale said the #IAMTOURISM campaign was created to share the story of women in the tourism space, which will tie in with the country’s Women’s Day celebrations next month.
“Around 70 percent of the industry consists of women. With leisure travel prohibited, these women in the sector are being denied the right to earn a living and provide for families. Women are everywhere in the sector, from cleaners to tour guides, to travel agents and guest house owners.
“With this campaign, we are hoping to draw the attention of the government to amplify our lobbying efforts,” she said.
The #IAMTOURISM campaign is currently curating stories of women in the sector. They hope to publish around 3000 images by August 9.
"It is a drive for women in the industry to get involved. It is a simple act on a grand scale, but these stories need to be shared. It's about having their voices heard. Women in the sector should submit a photo of themselves with a message to be featured. They can email [email protected] or Whatsapp 061 354 3286," said Hale.