Better Tourism Africa

Finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards revealed

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:

The supporters of the African Responsible Tourism Awards are:

  1. Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion – supported by Better Tourism Africa @RespTourismSA
  2. Best for Engaging People & Culture – sponsored by  Transfrontier Parks Destinations @TFPD_SA
  3. Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction – supported  by Africa! Ignite @AfricaIgnite
  4. Best Responsible Tourism Campaign – supported by Cape Town Pass and Cellar in the City @CapeTownPass
  5. Best for Habitat & Species Conservation –  supported by CapeNature @CapeNature1
  6. Best Responsible Event – supported by Bulk SMS @BulkSMS
  7. Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas – supported by  Marine Dynamics @MarineDynamics
  8. Overall Winner – supported by Wesgro @Wesgro

The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced during WTM Africa at an awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at 16.30 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. A celebratory function will follow the ceremony. Winners will be available on the WTM Responsible Tourism Stand (W54) from 10.30 – 11.30 on Friday 21 April 2017 for media interviews.

Commenting on the finalists, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa, said:  “This year’s finalists are worthy change makers who bravely use tourism to create positive change for Africa’s people and environments. From a music festival in an unlikely destination, a hard-hitting documentary and cultural tours that tells the stories of the residents of a beach town – the shortlist has a lot to say about where responsible tourism on the continent is, and where it is going next.”

Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel and WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, reflected on the decisions made on the Judging Day: “There were many excellent businesses and organisations on the shortlist for the Awards and much debate amongst the judges about each of the categories. It is an achievement to be on the long listed and to be a finalist, these are very prestigious and competitive awards. We have inspiring Gold and Silver winners again this year, large and small, reflecting the range of Responsible Tourism practice in Africa. I hope you will be as inspired as the judges were, by the range and quality of the shortlist and by the finalists .”

Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, is looking forward to the ceremony: “We would like to congratulate all those selected by the Judges as finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards this year. These forward thinking and innovative organisations are true examples of how we can take the tourism industry to new heights in a sustainable and attractive manner. We look forward to the awards ceremony on 20 April at WTM Africa, where we will celebrate the winners in person.”

The African Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa. The responsible tourism programme includes three panel discussions on market access for small businesses, responsible tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the cultures and heritages of Africa, as well as a social media challenge for digital influencers, the media and travel trade. The WTM Responsible Tourism Stand will host past winners of the World and African Responsible Tourism Awards.

Official hashtag: #ARTA17
Official twitter handle: @RTAwardsAfrica

For more information, high res logos or interviews contact:

Better Tourism Africa
Jacques Maritz
Tel: +27 833892523

Inge Dykman
Tel: + 27 21 487 4800

The search for the bright spots in responsible tourism on the African continent is on!  Now in its third year, the #ARTA17 ceremony will again be hosted as part of WTM Africa in Cape Town on 20 April 2017.

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.  The African Responsible Tourism Awards celebrate the commitment and efforts of individuals, organisations and destinations that use tourism to make Africa better.  The awards also aim to inspire change in the African tourism industry.

The seven categories for the 2017 awards are:

  • Best accommodation for social inclusion
  • Best for engaging people & culture
  • Best for habitat and species conservation
  • Best for partnership for poverty reduction
  • Best responsible event
  • Best responsible tourism campaign
  • Best tour operator for impact in urban areas

Read more about the award categories and download entry forms here

Entries close Sunday, 15 January 2017.  Make sure to submit your entry before time slips away over the festive season!

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 Responsible Travel.

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.



Baklava in Greece, injera in Ethiopia and bunny chows in Durban. There’s nothing like sampling a place’s food and drinks to create lasting memories of our travels. We go to restaurants, wineries and markets to find out what the locals love to eat, drink and celebrate with. And those of us who are among the growing number of consumers searching for meals that are organic, free range and ethical – meals that do not “cost the earth” – we find our happiness in cafés, craft breweries and bistros.

A recent speed marketing session at WTM Africa  showcased these gems that not only enhance travel itineraries but also look out for the well-being of local people and the planet. Read More

An incredible one-third of tourism organizations (or 28 out of 75 to be exact) longlisted for the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards can be found in Africa‬! Fittingly, the longlist was announced on ‪#AfricaDay2016‬. Read More

A conservancy that truly and remarkably brings together community and wildlife conservation to make better places to live in and great places to visit was announced Overall Winner this afternoon at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 in Cape Town, sponsored by Wesgro.

In a special ceremony at World Travel Market Africa, Mara Naboisho Conservancy  took the coveted position of Overall Winner from a selection of 24 finalists gathered from around Africa. Read More

Announcing the finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016

ARTA2016-500pxA lodge set in the Ethiopian Highlands, two national tourism ministries, and a beach safety organisation that protects both sharks and people are among the organisations selected as finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016, sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa.  But who will take the top spot? Read More

African Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM Africa launches only publically voted category

This competition is now closed. Marine Dynamics was announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award for the 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards. The winner of the digital subscription will be announced soon. Read More

Announcing the #ARTA16 Longlist


ARTA2016-500pxAfrican Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM Africa reap bountiful harvest

We are delighted to announce the official Longlist for the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016! 

The competition for the 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards at Word Travel Market (WTM) Africa has started in earnest as the long list of organisations vying for the top spot is announced.

The long-listed tourism businesses, organisations and initiatives come from 13 countries – covering the continent north to south and east to west. The list includes nominees from Morocco, the Gambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, South Africa and many more. Read More

Due date for entries for #ARTA16 extended to 22 January 2016

Following several requests from the tourism industry, the deadline for entries for the African Responsible Tourism Awards (#ARTA16) has been shifted on by one week.

The inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards, held at in April 2015 during WTM Africa 2015, attracted 183 nominations from 16 African countries. Twelve tourism businesses from Africa were gold and silver winners in the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London – several of these were category winners in the 2015 African round. Read More

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