We have a vision of an industry where all kinds of tourism, from niche to mainstream, are organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people. Our Awards are a step towards this; celebrating tourism experiences that inspire and surprise travellers and the industry with what it is possible to achieve through responsible tourism. Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit, because great places to live in, with their natural and cultural heritage, are great places to visit.

But with such a wide variety of organisations entering the Awards each year, big and small, and from all four corners of the globe how does our judging panel ensure consistency and identify the most enduring and shining examples of responsible tourism in practice each year?

1. Evidence-based:

The panel are looking for evidence of real change, businesses which can convincingly demonstrate positive impacts, or reduced negative impacts, quantified wherever possible.

2. Replicability:

The Awards aim to inspire change, we seek to identify examples of best practice which can be replicated across the sector and around the world.

3. Innovation:

The judges are looking for innovative practices that make a real difference, the Awards highlight new good practices, which the judges believe, can, and should, become common practice.

4. Influence:

We look for businesses and organisations that are not only doing good work themselves, but are using their influence to ensure their peers and suppliers to do the same.

5. Sustainability & longevity:

The judges seek to Award those businesses that understand that taking responsibly for tourism is a long journey, that it encompasses the economic, social and environmental impacts of their activities and who have a clear vision for the long-term success of the work, with future targets and plans in place.

6. Overall commitment to responsible tourism:

Alongside the category-specific focus, there needs to be a clear overall commitment to positively impacting local communities, economies, cultures and environments.

We are not a certification organisation – we seek to award and promote good practice. If you would like to know more about why the judges make the choices they do, take a look at the journal articles which explain why, and for what, each of the winners was awarded (below).

It is difficult to win the African Responsible Tourism Award again – there needs to be something new and substantial to win again.

Remember the judges can only Award from amongst those that apply and who take the time, and make the effort, to present their achievement(s) and the evidence clearly – and we do take up the references and make our own enquiries. These are tough Awards to win, the competition is stiff.