African Responsible Tourism Awards2018-09-17T11:10:03+00:00


The 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards will be presented at a ceremony hosted as part of the World Travel Market Africa.

There we will 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 criteria and judging process around.
And we work with our partners to get the word out so that winners’ are an example to the industry.

2019 awards categories

Best for Resource Management in Water or Waste2018-09-17T17:11:10+00:00

The Best Resource Management category has two sub-categories which are awarded to tourism organisations with an innovative and replicable approach to managing either water or waste, with measurable success in its reduction.

The category explained

By awarding innovation in water and waste reduction, we aim to highlight best practice and discover initiatives which can serve as examples for other providers.

The award for Best for Water Management is awarded to a tourism business or organisation working to source water sustainably, reduce its water use, reduce the amount of wastewater produced and safely dispose of it.

The Best for Waste Management is awarded to a tourism business or organisation with a waste management plan that includes goals for reducing, re-using and recycling waste, and a system for the safe disposal of waste.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for a tourism business or organisation with:

  • Innovative policies and replicable practices for reducing water or waste levels
  • Comparative data demonstrating an achievement in water or waste management
  • A commitment to the future and a model for leadership in the industry
Best Sustainable Event2018-09-17T17:09:56+00:00

The Best Sustainable Event category is for an event that is designed, organised and managed in a way that minimises potential negative impacts and leaves a beneficial legacy for the host community and all involved.

The category explained

The Best Sustainable Event award recognises an event that has successfully combined environmental best practices, deliberate actions that deliver benefits to the local economy, and meaningful engagement of local communities.

Any event that targets ‘out-of-town’ attendees qualifies to enter this category. This includes business events (like conferences, trade shows and exhibitions) and leisure events (like festivals and international sports events).

This category is specifically for an event. If you are an event venue or a service provider in the events industry, you can select and provide evidence for a specific event (e.g. a conference) or series of events that have taken place at your venue or that you have been involved in. You may also find that there is another awards category better suited to your organisation’s strengths than this one.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for an event that can

  • Demonstrate progressive design and organisational practices that integrate the three core elements of sustainability to reduce the event’s environmental footprint, help to address social or environmental issues in the host destination, and deliver optimum benefit to the local economy
  • Show that it has engaged meaningfully with local issues and communities
  • Prove a measurable success in delivering a responsible event
  • Provide inspirational and proven solutions which can be adapted by event organisers and host destinations around the world
Best for Habitat and/or Species Conservation2018-09-17T17:10:55+00:00

The Best for Habitat and/or Species Conservation category is awarded to an organisation or initiative that can demonstrate its success in leveraging tourism to conserve habitats and/or species.

The category explained

The focus of the Best for Habitat and/or Species Conservation category is on tourism providers – whether tour operators, accommodation establishments, activity operators or conservation organisations – which have, through tourism, achieved species and/or habitat conservation objectives. Entrants might include nature trails, wildlife-watching experiences, tourism activities, places to stay and other tourism experiences which otherwise benefit habitats and species.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for:

  • The integration of great tourism experiences with progressive and sustainable programmes in habitat and / or species conservation
  • The involvement of communities in conservation efforts
  • Proven achievements in maintaining species and/or habitats
  • Measures of success
  • Ideas which can be adapted and developed by tourism providers around the world
Best for Community Benefit2018-09-17T17:13:13+00:00

The Best for Community Benefit is awarded to a tourism organisation with a creative and long-term approach to reducing poverty and improving quality of life in local communities.

The category explained

Tourism has the potential to be economically and socially inclusive, and to create shared value with local communities. In this category we are looking for tourism organisations that achieve this by using memorable tourism experiences to achieve a measurable reduction in poverty within a local community, be it through local employment and training and including local and marginalised people in their activities. The organisation could also improve social conditions in the local community by addressing relevant social issues.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for a tourism organisation that:

  • can prove significant reduction of poverty or improvement of social conditions in a local community
  • has a long-term sustainable vision for continuing their work
  • can provide a working example for others tourism organisations
Best Responsible Experience in Culture or Heritage2018-09-17T17:14:30+00:00

This category has sub-categories for culture and heritage experiences. The Best Responsible Cultural Experience is awarded to a tourism organisation for a tourism experience that puts the exploration, appreciation and preservation of local people and their cultures at its heart. While the culture sub-category focuses on culture as it is in the present, the Best Responsible Heritage Experience is awarded to a tourism organisation for a tourism experience that authentically represents the stories and people of the past and works to preserve them.

We understand that you may be a tour operator with several cultural or heritage experiences. We ask that you not complete one application for all of them together. Rather enter for one experience or a cluster of experiences that focuses on a group of people or story from the past. If you feel that you have many great tourism experiences that each focus on a different culture or story, we recommend that you enter them separately.

The category explained

The Awards are committed to the idea that tourism experiences are better, more enjoyable and more memorable when they’re organised with the local community, their history and their culture in mind.

The Best Responsible Cultural Experience seeks to shine a light on the best examples of experiences which involve and celebrate local people, their way of life and their expression of their culture – and takes actions to preserve it. Cultural sites, performances, festivals, tours, interactive activities and places (e.g. villages and towns) that inspire and promote responsible cultural experiences may enter this category.

The Best Responsible Heritage Experience seeks to shine a light on the best examples of experiences which offer rich interpretations of history and show how what happened in the past have shaped the present. While celebration and presentation are important, the awards is also looking for examples where tourism is contributing to the preservation of heritage resources. The focus can be on either cultural or natural heritage. Entrants into this category can include museums, interpretation centres, visitor attractions, monuments, memorials, landscapes, archaeological sites, routes, and other sites of historical or natural significance.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for proven examples of a cultural, historic or natural resource being celebrated and protected at the heart of a tourism experience. The judges are looking for entries that:

  • deliver a high-quality visitor experience
  • maintain the authenticity and highlight the distinctiveness of the culture or heritage it showcases
  • respect the dignity, rights and beliefs of the people whose culture or heritage it showcases
  • contributes to the preservation of local culture and/or heritage
  • benefit the host community
Best Responsible Attraction2018-09-17T17:15:44+00:00

The Best Responsible Attraction category is awarded to a tourism attraction that is setting an inspirational and influential example for the implementation and measurement of responsible tourism activities. It is managed in a way that minimises potential negative impacts and benefits the host community and all involved.

The category explained

The Best Responsible Attraction category is looking for an attraction which is successfully addressing community, cultural or environmental issues in the place in which it is located. The attraction would have successfully combined environmental best practices, deliberate actions that deliver measurable benefit to the local economy, and meaningful engagement of local communities.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for an attraction:

  • With a committed and broad integrated approach to responsible tourism
  • That is inspiring, exciting and innovative
  • Provides an example of best practice for other attractions
Best for Global Goals Reporting2018-09-17T15:14:24+00:00

The category for Best for Global Goals Reporting is awarded to a tourism organisation that leverages tourism to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and then transparently reports on the impacts. There is no separate application process for this category. Entrants into all other categories are automatically entered into this category.

The category explained

The Best for Global Goals category is looking for examples of good practice where tourism organisations or destinations work to make better places for people to live in, and then publish the outcomes to demonstrate what can be achieved.

What the judges want

The judges are looking for tourism organisations that can demonstrate their positive sustainable development impact. They recognise that smaller companies will have smaller impacts but feel strongly that smaller businesses and organisations are no less worthy of an award. Instead the awards are looking for:

  • effective approaches to reporting the impact of sustainability efforts
  • effective approaches to communicating the impact of sustainability efforts to consumers, local people and governments

Why enter

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.

The awards timeline

Get informed of when the 2019 awards opens

Sign up here to get notice of when ARTA19 is open for nominations and applications:

* indicates required


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.

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.

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.