Dion’s guide to success

2018-07-10 06:01
Dion Fabe has been elected as chairperson of the Cape Tourist Guides Association. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Dion Fabe has been elected as chairperson of the Cape Tourist Guides Association. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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He has set out to change the face of tourism, not only in his new role but through his consistent challenging of conventional tourist destinations and breaking the stigma attached to Mitchell’s Plain.

Dion Fabe, from Westridge left a high-flying international job to pursue a life of tourism almost 15 years ago and he has not regretted that decision one bit.

And with his great sense of humour, his positive outlook on life, active social platforms, knowledge, his infectious laughter and his great stories, he has quickly become a sought-after guide in the city.

“My view of recognition is to encourage others. I look for a lot of attention of Facebook and people ask me why I post so much but there is method in my madness,” he says.

“I have been in tourism since 2004 and I always said to Hylton Ross – the company I freelance for – as much as they use me, I will use them for the benefit of tour guides and bettering of the industry,” he says.

Now many years later, he has been elected to a forum that will allow him to do just that.

As of 1 June this year, Fabe has taken up office as the chairperson of the Cape Tourist Guides Association, a role he plans to take very seriously­.

“The only reason I agreed to take office was because I could make a difference. It is not just a title. It is a non-paying job and a time consuming commitment. I will be liasing with the guides and the government as it is the only recognised body for tourist guides in the area,” he says.

His journey to tourism was not as straightforward as some leaving behind surety, leaping into the great unknown.

“I worked in corporate for 24 years as an international sales representative and travelled quite extensively abroad. It got to a point where the money was big, but there was no pleasure or reward. The job was pressurised, but the bonuses wasn’t worth it. I then resigned not knowing what I was going to do. My wife sent me to America on holiday and when I came back, I still didn’t know what I was going to do. On my return I saw a Hylton Ross bus at the airport and I thought I could do it,” he says.

“I then applied to study tourism management at New York University and got my degree in 2004. What I am doing now has nothing to do with the degree, I chose to guide. I am a people’s person and this is what I wanted to do. Two to three times per year, Hylton Ross would take the team on a team building and they would ask me to come in and manage the phones and manage the weekend. I became a registered tour guide and I have been freelancing for them ever since.”

His goal was and still is to improve the face of tourism and opts for always innovating the sights he shows his tour groups, this includes often chasing after animals, deviating from conventional paths and a scenic, educational drive through Mitchell’s Plain.

His method of giving back also includes free sessions with guides and aspiring guides, touring small communities and parts of the Cape less travelled.

“For many, touring Cape Town is Table Mountain, Cape Point and the Winelands. I have started to bring people to Mitchell’s Plain because my community is regarded as a coloured township and I want to show tourists that there is good coming from here. There is not just the crime they know or read about. They are thriving through all the negatives,” he says.V Continued on page 4.

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