Jacqui Taylor often refers to the conduit needed to get a natural resource, oil, from the ground to the petrol tanks of cars. The analogy applies to Rural Tourism/Agritourism which is a facilitator of employment opportunities, an additional income generator to rural communities and a means to empower women and the youth, where there are few opportunities to earn an income.
Jacqui is a passionate communicator, marketer, and entrepreneur. She has over 30 years’ communications and marketing experience in the Agricultural and Tourism industries, both nationally and internationally.
She is passionate about Tourism, Agriculture, Conservation, Ecotourism, Cultural Diversity, Traveling and Sustainable Tourism initiatives.
Jacqui has succeeded in developing domestic and international marketing strategies for a number of Destinations. Her focus is currently on Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism and Rural Tourism initiatives.
Jacqui is an Advisory Member on the IWA Marketing Committee (Vermont), a member of the South African Association of Agricultural Journalists, a member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She is also a Member of Vinpro, the National Science & Technology Forum, Agri SA, the African Food Security Forum and Wildlife Ranching South Africa.
Q&A with Jacqui
What are you hoping could ignite enthusiasm on what you’re going to speak about? (without giving away too much).
Sustainable tourism is not about solar panels or recycled water as often portrayed in the media. Tourism is about people and sustainable tourism refers to an integrated and diversified local economy where tourism plays an important part in supporting local entrepreneurs, amongst others.
What have you missed with regards to face-to-face contact in the events speaking space?
I believe that the Covid pandemic provided much needed time to reflect on change within the industry. The ‘me…me…me’ approach of employment numbers and revenues is not as relevant as it was. We are a vibrant community, all of whom add different dimensions to the tourism environment.
How did you come to do what you do, tell us a bit about your career advancement?
I grew up on a farm where my parents were farm managers who focused on socio-economic development within the community in the Grabouw/Elgin valley. I worked in the Hospitality, Destination Marketing and Agricultural fields, but it was only in 2016 where I knew I could make a difference in Rural Tourism Projects and Initiatives. Rural Tourism Africa is my life seven days a week. I am passionate and committed because not only is nature the ultimate healer and leveller in society, it is also about community. No one can live in a silo – I am amazed when I visit towns that neighbours do not greet one another or sometimes even know anything about the next-door neighbour. Visiting a rural area is educational in this regard – one is part of a community and if, for example, a fire starts on a farm, EVERYONE comes to help…perfectly natural and healthy!
What makes Africa Unique?
I could write a book on my experiences in Africa and I have lived in many different countries. The African people are unique, sincere, diverse, story-tellers of note, hospitable from the heart (not a text book version) …so much more…the people of Africa!
What is the first thing you will do once you set foot in Cape Town?
Leave to visit rural communities, farmers, tourism workers…I want authenticity in my life and I am driven to interact with those who give me such unique experiences…I am not interested in more of the same…I do not do ‘fake’…
Looking back as past events that you have been to, what business connection/relationship stands out that made it truly worthwhile?
My connection to nature is very strong and that comes from my upbringing. I have a very strong sixth sense. I have the deepest respect for not only rural people, but also for animals and the environment. Commitment and passion are for me the most important qualities we can teach our children.
Tell us a story about a past event where something truly memorable happened (funny or serious)?
So many stories, both funny and serious…I will mention my trip to Rwanda because they have by far the most Sustainable Rural and Community Tourism initiatives I have experienced because the focus is on Co-operatives, in other words, communities working together – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
I had the opportunity in Kigali to address a group of visually impaired young students – Seeing Hands Rwanda ensure that those with visual impairments should be given equal rights as people with no disabilities. After speaking to the students (I also had visual impairments as a child and in my teens) about the role perseverance, focus and self-believe plays in determining the quality-of-life experiences, I was treated to an incredible massage. The individuals who are visually impaired have advanced sensory skills and techniques. Amazing individuals, incredible community project and a unique tourism experience as the students offer their services in hotels and lodges to visitors. Words cannot adequately describe my admiration for this project. I will never forget that day.
Find me at WTM Africa:
Topic: Rural Tourism
Date: 11 April 2022, 12:30-13:15
Stage: Spotlight Stage