ARTA2016-500pxFor the second year running, Wesgro – the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape – is the main sponsor for the 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards.   Winners of the 2016 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 2016.  The African Responsible Tourism Awards are organised by Better Tourism Africa, with support from Responsible Travel and hosted by World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa).

The World Responsible Tourism Awards is the leading global awards recognising achievement and innovation in responsible tourism. In 2015 the awards founded by Responsible Travel celebrated 12 years at WTM London.  Twelve tourism businesses from Africa were gold and silver winners in the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards – several of these were category winners in the 2015 African round.

Wesgro Chief Marketing Officer, Judy Lain congratulated Gansbaai for winning the award for the best Destination at the 2015 Responsible Tourism Awards,

“Awards like these are achieved as a result of hard work, a common vision and the commitment undertaken by all industry role players in Gansbaai to develop tourism in a sustainable manner.  It is also important that we congratulate Bushmans Kloof and Grootbos who took silver in their respective categories.  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 2016 Africa Responsible Tourism Awards”.

Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Thebe Reed Exhibitions, organiser of WTM Africa, says:

As WTM Africa grows and develops as Africa’s leading travel and tourism event we are so encouraged by the incremental interest shown in the importance of Responsible Tourism.  It is integral to the success of tourism on the continent.  All stakeholders have a duty to ensure education, sustainability and authenticity when promoting the unique experiences that Africa has to offer.  We are proud to host the African Responsible Tourism Awards once again, here in Cape Town at the CTICC at WTM Africa”

Justin Francis, managing director of Responsible Travel, the organisers and founders of the World Responsible Tourism Awards says:

“The success of African businesses at the recent World Responsible Tourism Awards shows there is real energy around responsible tourism across Africa. With the launch of the second African Responsible Tourism Awards we’re excited to uncover more businesses which are changing the face of African tourism; the passionate individuals and organisations who by caring for communities and conservation are creating better places to live as well as better places to visit.”

“I’d like to encourage tourism businesses across the continent to submit an entry – big or small, we want to hear your story”

The inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards in 2015 generated significant participation across Africa.  Heidi van der Watt of Better Tourism Africa, the organisers and founders of the African Responsible Tourism Awards comments:

Watching one after the other winner from Africa taking the stage at the 2015 World Responsible Tourism Awards was truly exhilarating. A full 16 countries, truly covering Africa from north-south and east-west, were represented in the 2015 African Responsible Tourism Awards.  In 2016, we hope to extend the reach of the African Responsible Tourism Awards into all countries in Africa.  We encourage our partners on the continent to help encourage entries – help us showcase to the world the vast array of African tourism business following the beat of a different drum.”

Entries for the 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards open on Thursday 3 December 2015, and can be made on the awards website until 15 January 2016.

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.

The launch of the African Responsible Tourism Awards as part of the family of World Responsible Tourism Awards with the presentations to the gold and silver winners at WTM London and WTM Africa raises awareness of the importance of taking responsibility for making tourism better and celebrates those who are making a difference. Africa featured strongly in the World Awards this year – the judges can only recognise those who are nominated, please spread the world and encourage those you admire to apply in 2016.


 Note to editors


Official hashtag: #ARTA16

Official twitter handle: @RTAwardsAfrica

For media enquiries or information contact:

Better Tourism Africa

Jacques Maritz


Tel: +27 (0)83 389 2523




Judith Coetzee


Tel: +27 (0)81 408 7416


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, honesttravel 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 Thebe Reed Exhibitions
Thebe Reed Exhibitions is a joint venture agreement between Thebe Tourism Group Pty Limited and Reed Exhibitions. It is Southern Africa’s most forward thinking and successful exhibition and venue management company responsible for exhibitions such as the Africa Travel Week consisting of WTM Africa, ILTM Africa and ibtm Africa; the Business Entrepreneurship and Franchise Expo; Decorex SA; 100% Design South Africa; Gauteng Motor Fest; the Investment and Property Expo; Mediatech Africa and Sports,Africa Automation Fair and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE). Thebe Reed Exhibitions aims to provide the best platform for showcasing industries and nurturing business and networking opportunities on the African continent.

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).
Dates for Africa Travel Week (#africatravelweek) 2016 are: 04 – 08 April

About World Travel Market Africa
WTM Africa in Cape Town, South Africa attracts more than 3,000 of the most senior executives interested in the African travel industry. US$ 333 million new business was conducted at the event in 2015 between 572 exhibitors and197 hosted buyers and 418 Buyers Club Members, thanks in part to 7,600 pre-scheduled business appointments.
WTM Africa is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s WTM Portfolio of events, which also includes World Travel Market, Arabian Travel Market and World Travel Market Africa.