10 - 12 April 2024

Step Inside Responsible Tourism

Showcasing Best Practice in the Industry

WTM Africa’s Responsible Tourism Awards champion the best work in Responsible Tourism on the continent. Join our celebration of those devoted to sustainability and consistently generate positive influence and set exemplary standards.

The primary goal of these awards is to unearth, acknowledge, and promote good practice. These prestigious awards demonstrate how businesses and destinations are fostering transformation and spearheading innovative initiatives centred around the welfare and sustainability of tourism.

See Categories below for our 2024 Awards

2024 Categories

Free to Enter, applications are open and close 22 March 2024

Awards ceremony details

DATE: Thursday, 11 April 2024

TIME: 16h00 – 17h30

VENUE: Spotlight Theatre 

Submit your entry for the Responsible Tourism Awards 2024 by filling out the online application Form

Alternatively, download the Form and submit the completed document via email to [email protected]

Step inside Reponsible Tourism

A much-anticipated highlight at WTM Africa, the annual Responsible Tourism Awards honour exceptional initiatives and individuals leading by example with sustainable tourism practices. If this sounds like you, this is your chance to be recognised and elevate your business.

The submission closing date is 1 March 2024.

1. Making Travel Inclusive

The travel industry is lagging behind other sectors in advancing inclusion. The travel and tourism sector needs to widen its offer. The need for action is more pressing than ever.

Inclusive travel ensures that all travellers feel welcome and included and can have an appropriate experience in a destination. It fosters belonging and empowers individuals to sign up for new experiences.

We are looking for businesses that are avidly working to ensure that inclusion has a stronger place in tourism’s future.

This is an indicative list. We are looking for examples of approaches to making tourism more inclusive.

  • Companies that cater specifically to an underrepresented demographic(s) and consider the traveller’s experience at every stage – so they know what to expect, feel comfortable and where they can prevent conscious or unconscious discrimination
  • Businesses and destinations that offer experiences of particular interest to demographics often excluded or whose interests are ignored
  • Those that have made meaningful changes in their business by amending or tailoring their services to ensure it is available for all
  • Companies with progressive internal practices around diversity and inclusion ensure voices are represented by a broad demographic of people.

2. Championing Cultural Diversity

Visiting a country goes far beyond visiting the honeypot landmarks. We travel to experience other peoples' places, climates, built heritage, lived culture and the world's diverse nature. By experiencing cultures other than our own, we broaden our understanding and respect for one another.

This is an indicative list. We are looking for examples of destinations and businesses that are actively working to support the preservation and celebration of culture, and to create meaningful connections for visitors.

  • Businesses and destinations that elevate and celebrate the cultural identity of the people and places they visit in a respectful and authentic way
  • Businesses and destinations that ensure the stories shared and experiences that are led are done so by those that are appropriate to share them
  • Businesses and destinations that work with local communities in the creation of cultural storytelling experiences that generate income for local communities.

3. Nature Positive

Wildlife and the natural environment are important drivers for travel. The travel and tourism sector depends on nature's beauty to provide its goods and services, yet tourism can have negative impacts on the places we visit.

The tourism sector has a responsibility to contribute to the reversal of biodiversity loss and protect nature for future generations by promoting a regenerative approach to tourism.

We are looking for businesses that are acting as the guardians of biodiversity and taking a regenerative approach to their operation.

This includes but is not limited to

  • Businesses that contribute to rebuilding and replenishing the natural environment and reduce the negative impacts caused by tourism
  • Businesses and protected area managers that ensure that local communities benefit from nature-based tourism and that they, too, can experience the value of it 
  • Educate travellers and raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment.

4. What are you doing about climate change? 

The results of climate change can manifest in many ways and the tourism industry is exceptionally vulnerable. Each year the impact becomes more evident and, for many, more disastrous. Drought, floods, wildfires, and extreme weather conditions cause devastation for communities and businesses in destinations across the world. They are no longer unusual or isolated incidences.

We are looking for businesses and destinations actively contributing to the decarbonisation of tourism operations and exploring innovative ways to protect against threats to ensure business continuity.

This includes but is not limited to 

  • Products, services or business models that have been designed in detail to limit, erase or counter the negative impact of travel and tourism-generated greenhouse gases on the environment.
  • Innovative strategies to future-proof destinations and businesses against the effects of climate change.
  • Projects or experiences that engage tourists and/or communities in climate change awareness and look to inspire and influence others to reduce emissions.

5. Increasing local sourcing - creating shared value

As one of the world’s leading sectors of consumption, tourism provides many economic benefits, including employment and business opportunities. Far too often, the money does recirculate with the local economy location or provide any benefit to the local people or environment.

Tourism businesses can grow the local economy by spending on local goods and services by procuring services and products locally.

We are looking for businesses that have local purchasing practices in place and are actively working to create and promote local businesses and sole traders through their own supply chain and encouraging visitors to buy locally produced crafts and souvenirs.

This includes but is not limited to

  • Businesses that have created opportunities for local people to profit from tourism
  • Those that have created and encouraged conscious spending opportunities for tourists
  • Businesses that have implemented robust local supply chain policies that minimise economic leakage and support growth.

6. Employing and Upskilling Local Communities

Tourism creates diverse employment opportunities, and local employment has long been recognised as a very important way of ensuring that local communities benefit from visitors and tourism businesses. However, there are still many challenges; employment inequalities, instability through seasonal variations and lack of growth opportunities, to name a few.

We are looking for tourism businesses that are making a conscious effort to recruit, train and promote local people to provide long-term stable employment and opportunities for local communities.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Businesses that have detailed recruitment and training plans to support career progression that target and prioritise local people.
  • Companies that work with communities to create new business opportunities and, where relevant, ensure that they retain ownership of that product or experience
  • Organisations that have found innovative solutions to the seasonal nature of the tourism sector to provide year-round employment.

2023 Award Winners

Best for Meaningful Connections

  • GOLD - uThando South Africa  
  • SILVER - Happy Soul Adventures

Best for Local Sourcing, Craft & Food

  • GOLD - Ngwenya Glass 
  • GOLD - Tourism Authority Mauritius
  • SILVER - Artisans Co Ltd

Addressing Climate Change

  • GOLD - Tourism Authority Mauritius 
  • GOLD - Weeva 

Best for Diversity & Inclusion

  • GOLD - Birdlife South Africa
  • SILVER - Liveable

Best for Nature-Positive Tourism

  • GOLD - Wildlife ACT 
  • SILVER - Birdlife South Africa
  • One to Watch - Cape Vulture Lodge

Best for Tackling Plastic Waste 

  • Gold - Lemala Camps and Lodges

To find out the judges' reasons for choosing the above winners click here

Interested in learning more about Responsible Tourism and travelling sustainably? Here's a good start:

► Website - http://responsibletourismpartnership....

► RT Hub - Responsible Tourism Hub - Responsible Tourism Partnership

► Blog - http://haroldgoodwin.info/

► Twitter - https://twitter.com/NewsRtp

► Amazon - Responsible Tourism 2nd Ed. http://bit.ly/RespTourism

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