If there was an unsung hero in our tourism industry – it would be the tourist guide. Often the very first person a traveller interacts meaningfully with as they touch down on new soil – the tourist guide is often also the person they most clearly recall long after returning back home. That’s one of the reasons why Moira Edmunds, a tourist guide herself, nominated Peter Tait as a super-lifter, but it’s certainly not the only reason. When the pandemic hit and Moira found herself in desperate need, he was one of the people that offered to help, despite having his own challenges to deal with. Perhaps that’s one of the true marks of a super-lifter – someone that lends a hand, regardless of their own struggles or circumstances.
Who is Peter?
Originally from Cape Town, Peter has since moved up to Gauteng and worked for most of his career in the retail travel sector. In 2017, he took the plunge and became a full-time freelance tourist guide. It has been a fairly tough road though, despite his 30 years of experience in the travel industry, with business starting to pick up in 2019 only to then be hit by inbound tourism coming to a complete standstill as a result of Covid-19.
“At first, I didn’t know what to do. I love people, love entertaining and love being on the road, but I was stuck in Pretoria and far away from the ocean which is how I ordinarily relax,” he says. And so, he turned to social media, and used it to network as much as possible to keep communication going between people in the industry. “I am a very practical person,” he explains pointing out that he is spurred on when he feels like he is able to support people and encourage them to work alongside him and one another.
While he waits for the recovery of the tourism industry, one of the ways he’s kept himself physically and mentally healthy is by developing a new passion for mountain biking. “I started riding seriously in May last year and haven’t stopped ever since,” he says. Next, he’s hoping to incorporate mountain biking with his touring business and has already started putting together tours for both the overseas and local markets.
How he feels about being a super-lifter
“I am very humbled,” says Peter, who says he was quite emotional to learn of his nomination. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything on my side – I’m just trying to give people support by keeping in touch. It is a fantastic honour, and I would like to thank Moira Edmunds for nominating me,” he says, adding what a privilege it is to be part of South Africa’s close-knit and supportive guiding fraternity.
Watch our conversation with Peter Tait here.