“Gogo” Racks Up 40 Years in Tourism

“Gogo” Lorraine Bryant Racks Up 40 Years in Tourism

MOST grandmothers look forward to doing a bit of gardening when they reach the Biblical three-score years and ten, but not if you’ve been involved in the tourism industry for 40 years like Lorraine Bryant.
This recipient of several tourism awards had her gardening trowel poised for action in 2011 after the Tourism Education Trust she managed for 15 years closed when funding dried up. But when a group of concerned residents wanted to revive the defunct Howick Publicity Association (which had also closed due to lack of funding) Lorraine went to the first meeting and volunteered to serve on the steering committee of the Howick-uMngeni Community Tourism Organisation (HUCTO).

Five years down the line she is HUCTO’s secretary/manager with a staff of five (who fondly call her “Gogo”) and has succeeded in re-opening the tourism information office at Howick Falls and the popular Gorge Walk to the foot of the waterfall.
Her tourism career began in the 1970s when she joined the Pietermaritzburg Publicity Association as a tourism information officer. By 1979 she was the front-office manager involved in organising events and marketing the city, going on tourism marketing trips to Cape Town, Johannesburg, the Free State, Gauteng, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Taiwan, England and France. Lorraine was Acting Director of Publicity in 1996 when she left the PPA to manage the Tourism Education Trust, which taught schoolchildren about tourism, and for many years she presented tourism seminars for teachers at schools all over South Africa.
After becoming a registered tourist guide in 1980, she was later elected national president of the South African Association of Registered Tourist Guides (SAARTG) and was South Africa’s delegate at the World Conference of Tourist Guide Lecturers in Singapore. As a member and president of the KZN Midlands Skal Club, a service organisation for tourism executives, she attended Skal International regional meetings in Kenya and Mauritius, as well as world tourism conferences in Cape Town, Istanbul, Granada, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Stuttgart, Montreal and Valetta (Malta).
Her awards include: An Award of Appreciation from the Tourism Association of KwaZulu-Natal (TANK) for her personal contribution towards the awareness, promotion and marketing of tourism to and within KwaZulu-Natal during 1993-94; The Durban Metropolitan Council’s Award for Excellence in Tourism in 2001; In 2004 the TET received the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Judges’ Special Award “For Excellence in Tourism in KZN.”; In 2009, the Midlands Meander Education Project, which used her TET books and materials to educate children about tourism, was honoured with the Skal International Ecotourism Award.

Apart from her HUCTO involvement, she is the secretary and immediate past chairperson on the Board of Trustees in the complex where she lives, serves on the Municipal Ward 2 committee and teaches line dancing twice a week at Amber Valley. Oh yes, and this busy mother of three and granny of six also finds time to tend to her garden and an atrium of 20 hanging baskets.

Article submitted by Dick Jones – HUCTO Herald. E-mail tour.ed32@gmail.com Phone: 033-3302355