Hello to all FGASA members, supporting lodges, businesses, volunteers and staff,
As we navigate this pandemic and the impact it has had on our guides and the tourism industry as a whole, I am overwhelmed by the unquestionable character, support and strength of our community. Like other industry organisations devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged by the unerring support shown and given to our FGASA members. The acts of generosity, words of encouragement and letters of gratitude, are powerful affirmations for our team of dedicated staff, FGASA Board & Executive members, endorsed trainers, assessors, mentors, ambassadors, partners and volunteers. These acknowledgements are the essence of what binds the FGASA community in keeping the positive energy flowing through our veins. There are FGASA guides supporting fellow FGASA guides – this is testimony to the golden thread that has stitched our community, holding it together whilst Covid 19 has split its seams.
The world, as we once knew it, has changed in such a short period of time as Covid has sparked fear, anxiety, uncertainty and frustration in our homes, neighbourhoods, reserves, places of work and community spaces. Stories are heard daily of how guides and their families have been assisted in so many ways in this turbulent time.
On the flipside, for some, it has been a time of opportunity to make positive changes …. to learn, re-think, re-look, re-evaluate and re-assess lives, now and into the future. During this time, the health and safety of the guiding workforce and tourism community is paramount. Collectively, we must reinvent operations and experiences to drive tourism into a new era without the pandemic rearview mirror.
Thank you to all the lodges, training providers, tourism businesses and corporate members that have supported and stood by our guides, despite the catastrophic effects on tourism and the economy. We appreciate your commitment to this community, and our thoughts (and hopes) are with the many guides and their families that have been negatively affected, and the many that have lost their jobs. We hope that they will once again be employed back into the tourism sector.
FGASA set up a guide fund for all members during this time and we thank each person in their private capacity that donated to this cause. We unfortunately did not raise as much as expected, and understand the constraints experienced by everyone. The current fund R 47 180 total would sadly not make a significant impact if FGASA distributed the funds to our guides. Despite FGASA’s efforts, we did not reach scale , and so FGASA suggests that we retain the fund for future development of guides. As such, we would like to solicit your views and would appreciate your time to complete a short survey on the FGASA Guide Fund. The final decision will be made at board level after careful consideration of all feed back received. Complete the survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6VMXWNK
Stay positive, be healthy, be strong, be kind, be adaptable, be empathetic, be understanding and embrace the change we are experiencing to create a brighter future for us all. Your determination to rise to the challenges of this difficult time will be noticed and will bear the fruits of all your labors. Please all stay safe and positive.