13 November 2015
The South African pavilion at London’s World Travel Market, held from 2 to 5 November, brought together 30 of the country’s best tourism projects, including representatives from provincial tourism agencies, as well as the cities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Durban, in preparation for its hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Top local hotels and hospitality and travel companies were also in attendance, including Protea Hotels, Thompson’s Travel, South African Airways and Rovos Rail. The pavilion featured presentations by four local safari companies and 15 game farms.
World Responsible Tourism Awards for South Africa
The Western Cape town of Gansbaai received a gold World Responsible Tourism Award for Best Destination, while the South African charity, Campaign Against Canned Hunting, took joint gold in Best Animal Welfare Initiative category.
— South Africa Tourism (@VisitSA_UK) November 2, 2015
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom was one of the keynote speakers at the event’s Global Summit on tourism marketing. The minister spoke about how South Africa’s slogan, A world in one country, was proving highly effective, despite the challenges the industry faced nationally and globally.
In addition to congratulating Gansbaai and the Campaign Against Canned Hunting for their accolades this year, the minister also commended Bushmans Kloof for its silver award for Best Cultural Heritage Attraction. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve won silver for the Best Poverty Reduction award. “Our award-winning places, products and programmes demonstrate the leadership role South Africa is playing in developing and implementing responsible tourism,” said Hanekom.
With 227 323 visits from Britain to South Africa between January and June 2015, an increase of 17% over the same period last year, the UK remains one of South Africa’s most lucrative tourism markets. Following the visa regulation adjustments made by the South African government in October, the country hopes to capitalise on the rest of Europe. Germany, France and the Benelux countries are all eager tourism markets for the country.
Watch Ndabo Khoza, chief executive of South African Tourism: KwaZulu- Natal, at the WTM:
Watch a WTM discussion on taking responsibility for wildlife and national parks
Shine a light on the best
Established by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism in 2004, the World Responsible Tourism Awards highlights and celebrates the most inspiring and enduring socially and environmentally responsible tourism projects around the globe.
The vision for the awards, which are open to private and public enterprises and organisations, big and small, is to surprise and inspire tourists and the tourism industry by what it is possible to achieve with responsible tourism, and to shine a light on the best of the best.
The awards source prominent experts from the tourism industry, travel journalists, environmentalists and tourists themselves, to offer invaluable insights and knowledge on projects from around the world that fufil the vision of the awards and the event.
— TTG MENA (@TTGMENA) November 6, 2015
“The winners of the WTM awards and others in the sector who are striving towards greater sustainability are maintaining our country’s competitive edge in the global tourism market,” Hanekom said in a statement released at the end of the WTM. “Their success comes from taking a responsible approach right from the start of their planning, and then ensuring that all their products, services and activities are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable into the future.”
The minister urged the winning organisations to spread the word of world- leading responsible tourism practices throughout both the local, African and global tourism industry. He advised that South African companies use the marketing strategies to target the needs and desires of the international tourist, saying: “Tourists are becoming increasingly concerned about social and environmental issues, and they want to support destinations and products that take responsible tourism seriously.”
Southern African Tourism Services Association extended a message of support for the South African tourism products featured at this year’s WTM, and congratulated all the country’s category finalists and winners. “We extend special congratulations to Fair Trade Tourism for their immense work to promote and foster responsible tourism in South Africa and beyond,” it said in a statement.
Source: Department of Tourism