Cape Town – You see them all over the CBD, walking with a group of tourists and pointing out different historical buildings, but the accuracy of some of the information they share with tourists has been questioned by locals listening in.
Bo-Kaap resident Nazlie Benito said she couldn’t believe her ears when she listened to the often incorrect history of the areas.
She was shocked to hear guides telling tourists that the colourful homes in Bo-Kaap were painted for residents to know which person lived there.
She said she would often hear them giving the incorrect dates of when slavery was abolished in South Africa.
A tourism lecturer and tour guide since 1994, who didn’t want to be named, said: “When a tour guide gives a tour in areas they don’t usually do, then it is advisable for them to use a step-in guide, which is an expert on a certain area.
“The problem is that bigger companies don’t always use step-in guides and would just use general guides which saves them money.
“Site guides are much more knowledgeable on an area because they perform deeper studies on it, which prevents the spread of misinformation.
“Tour guides need to be sensitive towards an environment when giving a tour.”
Clive de Bruyn, the owner of Cape Town Tour Company, said: “I have encountered tour guides being misinformed and sharing this information with tourists on several occasions.
“People often get dates wrong or give the incorrect origins of slavery.
“A reason for this could be the huge array of different skill levels in tourism.”
De Bruyne said a tourism qualification in South Africa lacks substance.
Many people also just have a certificate, but lack the necessary training or experience within the field.
“Tour guides are not expected to know everything, but when they are unsure they should be ethical about it and let tourists know,” De Bruyne said.
Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said tour guides must be registered and be suitably qualified.
“Using legally registered tour guides ensures visitors have the most positive and enjoyable experiences that Cape Town has on offer.
“Registered tour guides abide by a code of conduct, are suitably qualified, knowledgeable about the areas they operate in and are trained in first aid,” Vos said.