Africa, and South Africa in particular had a strong showing at yesterday’s World Responsible Tourism Awards ceremony that was held at WTM London. Half of the six awards were scooped up by African organisations, and our congratulations go to:
- Chobe Game Lodge (Botswana) – Best at Carbon Reduction
- Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa) – Best Accommodation
- Transfrontier Parks Destinations (South Africa) – Best Tour Operator
Wesgro, Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency and previous headline sponsors of the African Responsible Tourism Awards was particularly pleased that two winners – Transfrontier Parks Destinations and Grootbos are from the Western Cape. Marine Dynamics, another Western Cape tourism business, received a Highly Commended in the awards ceremony. Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: “We are extremely proud of the performance of these three businesses today. They have represented the Cape and South Africa well, and demonstrated the enormous value of building and nurturing sustainable tourism in our country.
“Tourism remains an important economic contributor to both our provincial and national economy, boosting economic growth and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. We encourage other companies to be motivated by these excellent results, and continue to work hard in building a sustainable tourism economy.”
To celebrate 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the organisers of the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards are taking a detour from the usual format of the awards and focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) instead.
All five categories in the 2017 awards are linked to the SDGs. Another change is what categories organisations can enter in. The first four categories are open only to those who have won gold or silver in the last three years in the global, African, Indian or Irish Responsible Tourism Awards. The fifth category is for organisations new to the awards.
This year’s World Responsible Tourism Awards are looking for examples of good practice where tourism organisations and destinations leverage tourism to make better places for people to live in, and then transparently report on the impacts of their responsible tourism efforts.
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 and should not be deterred from applying. Instead the awards are looking to recognise effective approaches to reporting impact and communicating it to consumers, local people and governments.
The 2017 Awards categories are:
SDG8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Categories that focus on responsible employment have always been strongly contested in both the African and the World Responsible Tourism Awards. Contenders for this category include:
Stellenbosch wine estate, Spier, were gold winners in 2016 in the Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment category. The judges were looking for examples of businesses able to demonstrate an exemplary responsible approach to the employment and treatment of staff. The gold went to Spier for the transparent reporting and the breadth of their approach to improving the employment conditions of their staff ranging from addressing the issue of safety on public transport to their provision of Individual Learning Spend budgets to support the development of skills and knowledge, for personal development and innovation for the employee and their family for example by using it to pay school fees.
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, tourism that creates jobs, promotes local culture and products.
When the African Responsible Tourism Awards ran the Best for Resource Efficiency category in 2015, they were overwhelmed by the quality and variety in entries. Contenders for this category include:
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana walked off with the prize. Given that the lodge is over 40 years old, to refurbish an old structure the size of this lodge, making it more eco-friendly is a mammoth and on-going task. The lodge has a long term approach to energy efficiency with the ultimate aim of reducing dependency on the grid. The most noticeable innovation is the use of All Electric Game Drive Vehicles and Electric game viewing boats. The lodge was also a silver winner in the 2016 awards in the category for Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment – strengthening their application in the SDG12 category.
SDG 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development through the sustainable management of tourism on and in the oceans.
Contenders for this category include:
Nkwichi Lodge in Mozambique won the Best for Beach Tourism category in 2016. They were commended for helping to bring the world’s most biodiverse freshwater lake and a 120 000 ha of lakeshore and escarpment under formal protection – in partnership with 16 villages.
Chumbe Island Coral Park in Tanzania was highly commended for water conservation in the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2013 and they won the marine environment category in 2004. In 2015, they won the African Responsible Tourism Award in the ategory for Best for Beach Tourism. The judges wanted to recognise them for their careful review of progress and the development of the new Management Plan 2006-2016.
Remaining SDGs: Businesses and tourism organisations that can demonstrate their contribution to one of the other 14 SDGs
There are several other SDGs that past winners can demonstrate their contribution against. SDG1 states “No poverty”, and given that the poverty reduction category is traditionally the most competitive in the awards, there are several ideal contenders that can enter. Previous winners of this category include Grootbos Lodge and Transfrontier Parks Destinations (2015) and !Xaus Lodge (2016). Coffee Shack Backpackers, winner of the 2017 award for Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion can enter under SDG4: Quality Education, based on their support of education from preshool to college. Past winners of conservation awards like the Kenyan Mara Naboisho and Ol Pejeta conservancies (2016) are good candidates for SDG15: Life on land.
Newcomers: Businesses and tourism organisations which can demonstrate a contribution to one of the SDGs but which have not won Responsible Tourism Awards in the last three years.
Entering the World Responsible Tourism Awards
Before you tackle the application, you need to select the best category for your organisation to enter and to do this you need to have a good understanding of the SDGs. Follow the links above to find out more about what the SDGs cover, especially since several they have multiple targets.
Unlike previous years, there is only one stage in this year’s awards. To apply, you will have to complete the application form and submit it together with supporting documents to WTMRTA@responsibletourismpartnership.org. Applications close on 31 August 2017.
Blood Lions and Coffee Shack Backpackers win the top spots at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017
A hard-hitting documentary on the plight of lions in tourism and a small backpacker lodge with ample impact were announced Joint Overall Winners this afternoon at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017 in Cape Town, sponsored by Wesgro.
In a special ceremony at World Travel Market Africa 2017, Blood Lions and Coffee Shack took the coveted position of Overall Winner from a selection of finalists gathered from around Africa.
Says Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel. “All of those longlisted should be recognised as having made a significant contribution and be proud of what they have achieved. As in the World Responsible Tourism Awards the judges looked for winners who might educate and inspire others, challenging the industry to achieve more by demonstrating what can be done by businesses and organisations to realise the ambition of Responsible Tourism. That ambition is simply put: to use tourism to make better places for people to live in. This also benefits the industry: great places to live are great places to visit.
In this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development the industry needs to recognise that we need to be a lot more transparent about credibly reporting the positive impacts that businesses in the tourism sector have on peoples’ livelihoods and well being – we need to up our game and prove the claims we make. This year’s global Responsible Tourism Awards will be announced next month – in this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development there is a particular emphasis on the SDGs.
The judges were mindful of the Awards made in previous years in Africa and in the World Responsible Tourism Awards, of which these African Awards are a part. The Gold and Silver Award winners should be particularly proud of what they have achieved; they have been recognised as being leaders in a Responsible Tourism movement where more is expected each year.
If when reflecting on the winners of these and the World Responsible Tourism Awards you know of others you feel should be recognised then please encourage them to enter, the judges can only choose from amongst those who enter and complete the extensive application process. We encourage them, and other businesses, to continue to take responsibility for increasing the positive, and reducing the negative, impacts of tourism; to communicate what they are doing to use tourism to make better places and to consider entering the Responsible Tourism Awards when there is an appropriate category for their business or organisation.”
Speaking before a packed audience of over 100 tourism professionals, media, ministers and officials, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the Award winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa:
“Our winners have a vision that extends beyond the commercial – linking business success with the wellbeing of local communities and the longevity of their environments. They want to make profits with principles, communicate balance sheets alongside beliefs, and won’t undermine passion in the pursuit of professionalism. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They are the future of tourism in Africa.”
The Awards were sponsored by the Wesgro. Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, said:
“As the proud headline sponsor of the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards, Wesgro is delighted to pay tribute to this year’s inspirational winners. As the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, we continue to show our commitment to responsible tourism development both in our province and on the African continent.
We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner. Today, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.”
Read below for the full list of this year’s winners, or log on to www.africanresponsibletourismawards.com to read their stories or watch videos from the Overall Winners.
A photo library of winners images is accessible here.
Gauteng is the product of a 19th and 20th century ‘migrant labour’ system. The mineral revolution required cheap, controlled labour for the white-owned farms, mines and later factories. Male migrants were not allowed to live permanently in ‘white’ areas and so hostels played an important role in this system. Many hundreds of thousands of African men lived in single-sex hostels near their places of work. The hostels – reserved for men only until quite recently – were crowded with prisonlike dormitories where every aspect of life was controlled by colonial and apartheid authorities. Hostels were ‘tribal’ spaces, as the authorities insisted on them being structured according to ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
To this day, many hostels are still closely associated with Zulu culture. In the early 1990s they were no-go Inkatha Freedom Party strongholds and played a major role in the upheavals of the time. They are still perceived by many South Africans to be inaccessible and unsafe. While these hostels are now home to families, Zulu cultural practices still dominate including the continued role of Zulu Royal families in overseeing the day-to-day management of the hostel. These spaces remain off bounds for visitors, but in Tembisa (a stone’s throw away from the OR Tambo International Airport) one hostel is slowly opening up to tourists.
A community-based camp located in remote Namibia, two backpackers and a mountain bike tour in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Area are among the organisations selected as finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa). But who will take the top spots?
With seven categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’ to be won, the competition has stepped up a notch for the finalists revealed today.
Following an intense debate on the Judging Day, held in Johannesburg on 7 April, the panel of 14 expert judges from across the industry shortlisted 13 organisations from across Africa – including Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique. The finalists are:
- All Out Africa @alloutafrica
- Blood Lions @Blood_Lions
- Coffee Shack Backpackers @CoffeeShackBP
- Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp @WeAreWilderness
- Ilha Blue Island Safaris @ilhablue.islandsafaris
- Isibindi Africa Lodges @IsibindiAfrica
- Maboneng Township Arts Experience @MabonengArts
- MTN Bushfire @bushfirefest
- Nedbank Tour de Tuli @WeAreWilderness
- Serena Hotels @serenahotels
- The Backpack @thebackpackcpt
- Uthando @UthandoSouthAfr
- Wildlife ACT @wildlifeact
For the third year running, Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency – is the main sponsor for the African Responsible Tourism Awards. Winners of the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards, a part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards, will be announced in Cape Town at the CTICC during Africa Travel Week 2017.
The African Responsible Tourism Awards are organised by Better Tourism Africa, and are hosted by World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa). The African regional awards are a part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family, the leading global awards recognising achievement and innovation in responsible tourism. In 2016 the world awards founded by Responsible Travel celebrated 13 years at WTM London. Several category winners in the 2016 African round came out tops in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards.
Wesgro Chief Marketing Officer, Judy Lain congratulated Bushmans Kloof for winning silver for the Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment category at the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards,
“Grootbos, Hotel Verde, Bushmans Kloof, Gansbaai, Marine Dynamics and the V&A Waterfront are amongst the tourism businesses from the Western Cape that have over the years received top responsible tourism awards. We recognise that these awards are the result of hard work and an unwavering commitment to develop tourism in a sustainable manner. As the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, it is imperative that responsible tourism is a guiding principle in all we do. To this end we are pleased to announce that Wesgro will be the headline sponsor of the 2017 Africa Responsible Tourism Awards”.
The 2015 and 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards generated significant participation across Africa. Heidi van der Watt of Better Tourism Africa, the organiser and founder of the African Responsible Tourism Awards comments:
“Watching the quality of entries for the African Responsible Tourism Awards strengthening year on year is truly gratifying. Wesgro has supported the awards since the inaugural year in 2015, helping to discover and celebrate African tourism businesses that follow the beat of a different drum. It is fitting that they continue this partnership during the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We value their commitment to celebrating businesses that use to tourism as a force for good.”
As part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards family, the judging process for the African Responsible Tourism Awards is chaired by Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism and Chair of the main World Responsible Tourism Awards judging panel since its inception.
Entries for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards closed in January, and the longlist will be announced on 1 March 2017.
Note to editors
Official hashtag: #ARTA17
Official twitter handle: @RTAwardsAfrica
For media enquiries or information contact:
Better Tourism Africa
Tel: +27 21 487 8600
The Western Cape is a region of unlimited potential, and this translates into unlimited opportunity. Whether you’re interested in travel, business or export, Cape Town and the Western Cape has something for you. Let Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, help you uncover the opportunities.
About Better Tourism Africa
Better Tourism Africa (previously the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – South Africa), a non-profit organisation established in 2006, works alongside government, the private sector and communities in Africa to implement the objectives of Responsible Tourism as described in the Cape Town Declaration. We believe tourism should be harnessed to create better places for people to live and to visit. Our work includes advocacy, training and capacity-building, research and technical advisory services.
About Responsible Travel
Responsible Travel is the world’s leading market place for small and tailor-made tour operators, all screened for their commitment to responsible tourism. Responsible Travel connects these operators with people looking for real & authentic holidays. Starting with just 2 tour operators in 2001 we’ve become the leading place to find tours from over 400 small & specialist tour companies in 197 countries. As tourism grows globally the opportunity for authentic experiences diminishes, and the impacts of tourism on places & local people (not always positive) grows. We’ve found the secret to authentic travel is treating local people & places responsibly.
In addition Responsible Travel:
- campaigns for positive change in the travel and tourism industry.
- is publishing an expanding collection of open, honest travel guides
CEO Justin Francis has been included in Courvoisiers The Future 500, Thames and Hudsons 60 Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future and taken his place on the Advisory Board of The International Centre for Responsible Tourism.
The company is based in Brighton’s North Laine district, England.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is a leading global player in the world of exhibitions and part of RELX Group, one of South Africa’s largest and most successful business events companies. Reed Exhibitions brings over 50 years of experience in developing, marketing, selling and organising exhibitions, events, conferences and meetings.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises of six leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The six events are WTM London; Arabian Travel Market (ATM); World Travel Market Latin America; World Travel Market Africa; WTM Connect Asia and International Golf Travel Market (IGTM).
About Africa Travel Week
Africa Travel Week comprises three co-located shows – WTM Africa, ibtm africa and ILTM Africa – encompassing Africa’s inbound and outbound markets for general leisure travel, luxury tourism, and the MICE/business travel sector under RTE’s established portfolios of WTM (World Travel Market), ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) and IBTM (Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings). The dates for Africa Travel Week (#africatravelweek) 2017 are 19 – 23 April 2017
About World Travel Market Africa
World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. The dates for the next event are 19-21 April 2017.