Director: Better Tourism Africa
Heidi van der Watt @HeidivdWatt co-founded Better Tourism Africa, a sister organisation of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, in 2006 and the African Responsible Tourism Awards, presented at WTM Africa, in 2014.
Much of her work over the last 2 decades has been in regional and local economic development in developing countries – places where tourism can play a significant role in improving quality of life and safeguarding the environment. Heidi’s expertise in sustainable tourism has been enhanced by her Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning. Apart from projects in Southern Africa, Heidi has worked on tourism projects in other parts of Africa, Oman, India and Russia.
Heidi has helped shape South Africa’s vision as a responsible tourism destination. She developed a National Strategy for Responsible Tourism and a National Standard for Responsible Tourism and managed the development of Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan. Heidi is also a Director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and a member of the WTM Responsible Tourism Advisory Panel.
Heidi is currently affiliated with the Institute of Development Studies at Massey University in New Zealand and undertaking doctoral research on the development contribution of marine wildlife tourism in Gansbaai, South Africa.