For the last 16 years, the world has celebrated International Tourist Guides Day on February 21. This year South Africa had the theme "Fighting against Illegal Tourist Guiding", which launches a national plan to fight illegal guiding. The department of environmental affairs and tourism commented that tour guides are required by law to carry their identity cards and badges, and the subtheme was "Have you asked for the badge and ID Card registration proof from your tourist guide?"
Official celebrations were held in the Western Cape. Deputy Director General for Tourism, Dr Patrick Matlou, said, "Other than the travel operator and the internet, the real contact that the tourist has with South Africa is through a tour guide. Tour guides are indeed our ambassadors, as we all know that tourism thrives on person-to-person encounters."