About the African Responsible Tourism Awards2018-09-17T17:46:21+00:00

About the African Responsible Tourism Awards

The African Responsible Tourism Awards were established in 2014 to celebrate and inspire change in the African tourism industry. It is an Africa-wide search and celebration of the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences.

The awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.

The Awards is open to any organisation anywhere in Africa. The winners of our Awards are announced each year at a ceremony at World Travel Market Africa held in Cape Town.

Our vision for the awards

Our vision for the awards is to shine a light on the best of the best and to inspire change in the African tourism industry.

Better Tourism Africa wants to help people live their dreams through authentic and life-enriching adventures, to ensure local people and wildlife benefit and to be a catalyst for change in the tourism industry. Our awards are a key part of this dream to drive positive change.

Our awards celebrate the shining stars of responsible tourism on the African continent – the individuals, organisations and destinations making a positive impact on local cultures, communities and biodiversity.

But more than that, we want their examples to inspire others. That’s why we’ve got the most rigorous judging process around.
And we work with our partners to get the word out so that winners’ are an example to the industry.

How the awards work

All it takes for an organisation to be considered for an award is a submission in any of the awards categories. We do not pick the entrants ourselves but rely on tourism organisations to apply. After all, they’re the ones with the stories to tell.

Once all the submissions are received the judging process begins. The judging process has several stages and has been designed by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism to put candidates through their paces. At each stage the list gets shorter and eventually our expert panel of judges debate the winners on the judging day.

Because we want our winners’ examples to inspire others, we have the most rigorous criteria and judging process around.


What it means to be a winner

Finalists of the Awards are invited to a prestigious ceremony hosted as part of World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town where the winners are announced to an audience of tourism ministers, destination managers, industry professionals and media. We also work with a variety of media partners to share the stories of our winners with the public.

Our partners

The African Responsible Tourism Awards form part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards organised by and held at WTM London.
The Awards are organised by Better Tourism Africa under licence from WTM Responsible Tourism.
The judging process is designed and organised in partnership with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism.

Previous awards winners

Winning and the good feeling that comes with it is just one of the reasons for entering the African Responsible Tourism Awards.
To be able to able to say that you are ‘award-winning’ is a compliment to everyone in your team who made it happen.
And if you promote your win to your customers, it can really set you apart from your competitors.

2018 african responsible tourism awards
2017 african responsible tourism awards
2015 african responsible tourism awards


I know of an organisation I think could win an award. What do I do?2018-07-27T09:57:35+00:00

Nominations for the 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards open in September 2018. You could nominate the organisation for an award in a category.

We will let the organisation know that they have been nominated, and that they would need to complete an application to enter the awards.

How do we enter the African Responsible Tourism Awards?2018-07-27T10:21:07+00:00

Entry into the awards is by application. Even if you have been nominated for an award, you will have to complete the application process to enter the African Responsible Tourism Awards.

The awards is not open yet, but when it is you will have to:

  1. Download the form for the category you are entering from the descriptions above. Complete your submission and upload it using the online form (the link is in the entry form) by 30 November 2018.
  2. You will also need to upload documentation to support your application. This includes a responsible tourism policy (or similar document) and other material that provides evidence supporting your application.
  3. Finally, you will need to get references to support your application. Request reference letters as soon as possible and ask referees to upload their reference letters at the link provided on the application form.
What does it cost to enter the Awards?2018-07-27T10:05:03+00:00

Nothing apart from your time. Entering the African Responsible Tourism Awards is free-of-charge.

If you make it through to our list of finalists you will be invited to attend the African Responsible Tourism Awards ceremony at WTM Africa in Cape Town. This ceremony (and WTM Africa) is also free to attend, however, travel to and from Cape Town (and accommodation etc) would be at your own expense.

Which category should I enter?2018-07-27T10:05:33+00:00

Read through each category description carefully and enter the one which is most relevant to your biggest successes and impacts – you know what these are.

Can we enter more than one category?2018-07-27T10:06:28+00:00

Yes – you are welcome to enter any categories you feel are relevant, however, should you be successful in reaching the next stage of the Awards your submission will only be taken through in one category at the judges’ discretion.

None of the categories are right for us. What should we do?2018-07-27T10:09:01+00:00

Responsible tourism is practiced in many different ways. Because of this we change the African Responsible Tourism Awards categories every year. While you may feel that none of this year’s categories are right for you to enter, there may be a perfect fit next year.

What do you mean by ‘supporting evidence’?2018-07-27T10:10:25+00:00

We ask that with your submission form you also upload supporting evidence. This is could be any documentation, communication, policy or report which shows the impact rather than intent of your work – indicators or data in numerical form which can back up your answers is particularly welcomed by the judges.

This evidence can be uploaded as a word document, image or PDF document. If  supporting documentation is already online, please include a link in the corresponding answer.

I can’t upload all our supporting documentation. How do we submit more?2018-07-27T10:19:19+00:00

Only one responsible tourism policy (or similar policy) and five supporting documents can be submitted with each entry. We ask that you think carefully about what supporting evidence you submit – quantity does not necessarily equate to quality – making sure this is concise and clearly referenced in your submission form.

How do we submit a supporting document with a file size greater than 10MB?2018-07-27T10:18:53+00:00

We’re sorry, but you aren’t able to. Only file sizes less than 10MB will be accepted. If it is evidence you think is vital to your submission you will need to convert it to an another document format or shrink the file size before you upload it.

Can we submit our entry by email or Dropbox/WeTransfer?2018-07-27T10:18:28+00:00

We’re sorry. no. All entries and supporting documentation must be submitted via the online form.

Can we submit our entry in a language other than English?2018-07-27T10:14:17+00:00

Unfortunately not as our judging panel have English as the only common language.

If you are not able to write in English then you will need ask someone to translate your entry before you submit it. Remember, the judges are looking for the impact rather than the intent of your work, or your ability to fluently describe it. Quantify, and use figures where possible.

Can we have an extension on the entry deadline?2018-07-27T10:14:58+00:00

Unfortunately no. Entries will close on the date and time specified on the submissions page.

When will the finalists be announced?2018-07-27T10:15:42+00:00

The finalists will be announced immediately after judging day in early April 2019.

When will the winners be announced?2018-07-27T10:17:47+00:00

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at WTM Africa to be held from 10 to 12 April 2019 in Cape Town.

Who can enter the awards?2018-08-29T10:58:15+00:00

We use the word “organisation” as a blanket term for the many types of entities that are involved in tourism. The awards is open to businesses, associations, initiatives, partnerships, campaigns and even government departments and non-profit organisations that leverage tourism to positive impact.

Some categories are specific types of organisations, for example tour operators, accommodation, public sector or events.

If you are uncertain if you can enter a category, please contact us.