Responsible Tourism and the African Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM Africa

Responsible Tourism and the African Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM Africa

The first Responsible Tourism panel on market access for SMEs and emerging entrepreneurs drew an audience of 90 to hear Enver Mally – originally an SME and now part of African Eagle Day Tours as well as being Chair of the Board of Cape Town Tourism, and Kgomotso Pooe – the emerging entrepreneur behind Soweto Outdoor Adventures.  There was much debate about how to enable more market access, the role of partnership, and whether or not disintermediaries like Airbnb and Viator offer a viable route to market for township operators as they rarely come up on the first two or three pages in a city like Cape Town.  The audience for the Responsible Tourism panel was the largest at the event on Wednesday, and on Thursday the panel on the SDGs attracted more than 100 people. The SDGs will form the criteria for the global Awards on Responsible Tourism presented in November at WTM London.

In this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the industry should recognise the need to be 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 to  be awarded at WTM London in November will be announced next month there is a particular emphasis on the SDGs.

The African Responsible Tourism Awards were presented In Cape Town at WTM Africa. A hard-hitting documentary on the plight of lions in tourism and a small backpacker lodge with ample impact were announced Joint Overall Winners at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017 in Cape Town. Blood Lions and Coffee Shack took the coveted position of Overall Winner from a selection of finalists gathered from around Africa.

Full details of Award winners and the reasons for the judges’ decisions are available online: Africa responsible tourism awards presented at WTM Africa.

The founder of Calabash Tours and a leading activist for Responsible Tourism, Paul Miedema was remembered at WTM Africa, recognised as in the Responsible Tourism Awards in 2004. In 1990 Paul participated in The March for Hope, a protest March of white people to the townships. “I knew then, and still maintain, there is an energy and spirit in the townships that is life changing. I just want to share that with as many people as possible.” Paul died earlier this year and his untimely passing and his major contribution to the development of the Responsible Tourism movement globally was remembered and recognised again at the African Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM Africa.

In opening the Awards ceremony Deputy Tourism Minister, Elizabeth Thabethe spoke about the government’s commitment to Responsible Tourism and their National Responsible Tourism Strategy. The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. As the Tourism sector in South Africa, we can contribute to the realization of these goals by ensuring that we create meaningful and sustainable opportunities for poor and marginalised communities throughout the tourism value chain. The Minister’s full speech is available on line  South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism speaking at the African Responsible Tourism Awards.

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Latin America. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

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