Amanda describes herself as an adventurous, hardworking, flexible, ambitious and committed individual. She is passionate about diversity and overcoming life’s many challenges, especially the ones that encourage thinking, reflection, and strategy. She enjoys exploring unique cultures and uncovering the diversity of both urban and rural communities. During her time working as a tour guide and tour operator, she has had the privilege of taking many different groups of travellers from various countries on an array of African adventures that they won’t be quick to forget.
How did you fall in love with travelling or start working within the industry as a career?
I grew up being passionate about exploring nature and found peace and tranquillity when surrounded by natural beauty. I found myself automatically pulled into the travel industry before I completed my bachelor’s degree.
What kind of traveller are you?
I like to plan ahead. However, I also believe that there is always a time and a place for spontaneity and going with the flow.
Tell us about one of your most memorable trips/travel moments. Where and why?
One of my most memorable trips was to Ethiopia. Each city in Ethiopia had its own unique theme. Whenever we landed at a new airport, it was built in a different architectural style based on local traditions in the area. The air and road transportation systems were also marvellous. It was 7 days spent flying, filled with fun and adventure. I learnt a lot about religion, politics, history, culture and heritage.
What lessons have you learnt from your experience during COVID – both personally and in your business?
I have learnt to maintain a positive attitude every single day. Staying optimistic has kept me going. I have also learnt that one should diversify and take advantage of other business opportunities as a source of income. I have had to scale down on my basics and cut costs on my expenditures during this trying period. My background in Information technology, which I had never taken seriously until now, has come in handy regarding key business meetings and marketing stategies. I am grateful for these virtual meetings as they have kept my spirits high and have helped me to keep in touch with business partners in the travel industry.
How confident are you that the travel and tourism industry in Africa (especially South Africa) will survive & prosper over the next 2-3 years?
I am confident that the travel and tourism industry will pick up again. However, many African countries need to start thinking outside of the box and refocus their marketing efforts on local travellers. This is a market that has always had a lot of potential but has been largely neglected until now.
From an international traveller perspective, the good news is that many tourists think of Africa as a relatively safe destination. This means the chances are good that the industry will recover quickly once normal travel resumes once again.
What do we need to do to make sure that happens?
Success is reliant on marketing. We must focus on marketing to domestic travellers, as well as international travellers. The focus should be on producing television documentaries that will air on local and international channels (i.e. CNN, BBC, DW, CTGN and many other channels) to portray positivity and a bright future ahead, enticing tourists to plan their next trip.
Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you…
- Like to see: The natural beauty found within every new destination.
- Like to taste: Local cuisines.
- Like to feel: A hot shower and a comfortable, warm bed after a long day of exploring.
- Like to hear: The sounds of nature.
- Like to smell: The fresh air upon landing at the airport.
Lastly, what do you love about Africa Travel Week (WTM Africa) and do you think live trade shows will still be important going forward?
I love the opportunity to network at WTM Africa. Live trade shows will remain critical because they connect the African tourism industry to the rest of the world.