Better Tourism Africa

ARTA18 due date extended

Organisations that are interested in entering the 2018 African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) but have not yet had a chance to complete their application now have an additional week.

We will soon announce an exciting partnership that will help to extend the  African Responsible Tourism Awards Tourism entry footprint.  To allow the grapevine to do its work, the closing date for applications has been extended to Thursday, 22 February.

Award categories

This year, ARTA aims to celebrate tourism organisations doing good work in five categories:

  • Best for aquatic species and habitat conservation
  • Best for decent work and social inclusion
  • Best for innovation in water management
  • Best responsible business event
  • Best responsible cultural experience

Read more about the award category criteria and download entry forms here. 

The winners of the 2018 awards will be announced at a ceremony on 18 April at the World Travel Market Africa held in Cape Town. Winners of the African awards are automatically entered into the World Responsible Tourism Awards.


La période de dépôt de candidatures pour la 4th édition de Les Prix Africains du tourisme responsable est désormais ouverte. La liste des lauréats sera dévoilée en february 2018, à l’occasion de la ARTA cérémonie de remise des prix qui se tiendra au WTM Africa en Afrique du Sud.

La 4ème édition des Trophées Africains du Tourisme Responsable s’adresse aux entreprises touristiques (tour-opérateurs, agences de voyages, établissements d’hébergement, attraction touristique, guides, ….), associations, ONG et autres acteurs qui utilisent le tourisme pour de bons changements, lié à cinq catégories:

Conservation des espèces aquatiques et des habitats

Cette catégorie vise toute initiative liée au tourisme qui protège les espèces et les habitats marins et d’eau douce, protège la biodiversité et les écosystèmes, atténue ou compense les impacts négatifs sur l’environnement, etc.

Travail décent et inclusion

Cette catégorie est ouverte aux candidats avec des initiatives visant à assurer des conditions de travail décentes pour les employés, une meilleure répartition des avantages du tourisme au niveau local, la promotion de l’équité et la promotion de la cohésion sociale, etc.

Événement d’affaires responsable

Comme son nom l’indique, ce trophée s’adresse à toute organisation organisatrice d’un événement professionnel (salon, conférence, sommet, congrès, etc.), ayant pris en compte le développement durable dans toutes les phases d’organisation de l’événement.

Expérience culturelle responsable

Cette catégorie est destinée aux expériences touristiques qui mettent en valeur et soutiennent les traditions culturelles et les modes de vie, et encouragent une échange respectueuse et significative entre les touristes et les habitants locaux

Novatrices gestion de l’eau dans le tourisme

Cette catégorie relief la responsabilité et l’implication nécessaire du tourisme dans la préservation de l’eau, une ressource vitale dans le monde. Le catégorie cherche des solutions novatrices de la gestion de l’eau dans le tourisme et les mesures engagées par le candidat pour protéger et promouvoir les ressources en eau tout en ayant des retombées positives pour les populations locales des destinations.


Les parties intéressées sont invitées à présenter leur candidature avant le 22 février 2018 à minuit (heure d’Afrique du Sud).

Des informations complémentaires et les dossiers de candidature sont disponibles à ce lien. Soumettez votre entrée aux liens fournis.

Nous recevrons votre entrée avec grand plaisir!


Wesgro-headline-sponsorCalling on tourism businesses in Africa – the search for the bright spots in responsible tourism on the continent is on!  Now its fourth year, the #ARTA18 ceremony will again be hosted as part of WTM Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday, 18 April 2018.

The African Responsible Tourism Awards celebrate the commitment and efforts of individuals, organisations and destinations that use tourism to make Africa better.  The five categories for the 2018 awards are:

  • Best for aquatic species and habitat conservation
  • Best for decent work and social inclusion
  • Best for innovation in water management
  • Best responsible business event
  • Best responsible cultural experience

Read more about the award categories and download entry forms here.

Previous years have uncovered many remarkable tourism businesses and organisations that plough back into their communities, conserve nature and heritage, benefit African destinations and African people.  In the past entries from South Africa have been plentiful. We strongly encourage entries from other parts of Africa.  In 2017, a remarkable five of the twelve Leaders in Responsible Tourism in the global WTM Responsible Tourism Awards were from Africa.

Entries close Thursday, 22 February 2018.  Make sure to submit your entry soon after the festive season rush.

The African Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Awards, the world’s most respected responsible tourism awards.  The awards are organised by Better Tourism Africa, under licence by World Travel Market.  Wesgro will continue to support the Awards as its headline sponsor, as it has since the Award’s inception in 2015.

Should you be interested in sponsoring a category or require further information, please e-mail awards@africanresponsbletourismawardscom.

Follow us on twitter : @RTAwardsAfrica and Facebook : AfricanResponsibleTourismAwards for the latest news.


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A couple of weeks ago, we ran a #87litres twitter competition with our friends at Responsible Cape Town @respCPT and Cape Town Pass @CapeTownPass.  To our delight, there were some pretty cool responses from all over South Africa.  @FTTourism, @DiBrown5 and @CCHotel grabbed the three top spots. Check out their tweets below.

On Wednesday 6th December, our winners and #TravelChatSA founder, Patrycja Oosthuizen, @Travelopulent, will stop in at various places in Cape Town. Their mission is twofold.  Firstly, to show that tourism players have taken many steps to #savewater.  Second, and equally important, to provide tips on travellers can #savelikealocal and use less than #87litres per day.

Why #87litres?

The City of Cape Town has asked residents to use less than #87litres of water per person per day.  With the tourism season upon us, the help of our visitors to save water is critical.  So, we’ll be sharing how visitors may use the handy #87litres water calculator.

Waterwise stops

Here’s where our group of #87litres advocates will be going:

Our winners will be travelling in a vehicle sponsored by @TheGreenCabSA team.

Appropriately, #WaterWiseTourismCT champion, @TheBackPack, is hosting Heidi van der Watt @heidivdwatt of Better Tourism Africa on 5th & 6th December.

We’ll end the day at The BackPack, participating in the Water Wise Summer Holidays #TravelChatSA at 7pm.

Help us spread the #87litres awareness

Here’s three things you can do:

  1. Follow the #87litres and #WaterWiseTourismCT hashtags, like and retweet, especially on Wednesday 6 December.
  2. Share your ideas on how travellers can #savelikealocal
  3. Give a shout-out to #waterwise tourism businesses in South Africa. We know they’re out there!

Together, we can beat day zero! Every drop counts.

Africa shines at the World Responsible Tourism Awards

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.”

Enter our #87litres in the day of a tourist competition and win a fun-filled day visiting Cape Town attractions using the Cape Town Pass.

Entering the competition is easy

Tweet an example of how a tourism business in South Africa is saving water or encouraging water saving. Use the hashtag #87litres to make sure we see your entry.

There are three Cape Town Passes to be won. The pass is a two-day pass that includes entrance to many of Cape Town’s premier attractions. The first of the two days will be organised by us, and we’ll shuttle the winners to attractions of our choosing (don’t worry, they’ll be great). On the second day, winners are free to use the Pass anyway they choose, no interference from us.

The competition is open from 00:00 on 2 November 2017 until 23:59 on 7 November 2017 (SA time)

Rules, terms & conditions

  • The competition is organised by Better Tourism Africa and Responsible Tourism Cape Town
  • The competition is open to everyone, with the exception of staff from the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Pass and attractions included on the Cape Town Pass.
  • To enter you must be at least 18 years old and have a Twitter account.
  • A person can enter as many times as they like, but will need to submit a different answer each time.
  • Winners will be the people that posted the highest scoring Tweets with the #87litres hashtag. Tweets will be scored by the total number of Retweets and Likes it receives.
  • Three separate prizes will be awarded. A person can only win one prize, even if they have several Tweets in the top three.
  • The prize will include a three-day Cape Town Pass with entrance to included attractions preloaded. The first day of the Pass will be a group activity day organised by the competition organisers in which all winners follow an itinerary of activities. Winners will need to meet at a designated starting point in or close the Cape Town city centre, and transport during the day will be included in the prize.
  • The Cape Town Pass will be valid for three consecutive days starting from 2 December 2017, and the day joint activity day will be on 2 December 2017.
  • Transport to Cape Town and the designated starting point is not included in the prize.
  • Winners will be notified via Twitter during the week of 13 November 2017.
  • The prize is not transferrable, or transferrable to cash.
  • If the winner is not able to take up the prize, the prize will be awarded to the person that tweeted the next highest scoring tweet.

cape town pass, sponsor, african responsible tourism awards   Responsible Tourism Cape Town  

Entering the 2017 World Responsible Tourism Awards

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.

Awards categories

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.

sdg12SDG 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.

sdg14SDG 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.

sdgRemaining 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 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 mannerToday, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.

Read below for the full list of this year’s winners, or log on to to read their stories or watch videos from the Overall Winners.

A photo library of winners images is accessible here.

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Tembisa hostel experience showcased at WTM Africa 2017

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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.

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Meet Better Tourism Africa at WTM Africa 2017 #WTMA17

Better Tourism Africa tells and celebrates the stories of African tourism businesses that use tourism as a force for positive change, creating better places to live in and better places visit.

Find us at stand W54 and discover our exhibition partners:

  • WOW Zulu by Africa Ignite
  • Ikhayalami (My Home) Hostel Experience
  • Coffee Shack Backpackers
  • Ilha Blue Island Safaris

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