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Gansbaai leads the pack in responsible tourism in Africa


Cape Town has set the scene for Responsible Tourism this week as the city hosted the 11th Responsible Tourism in Destinations conference, culminating in the announcement of the 2015 Africa Responsible Tourism Awards in Africa – Following is the list of winners as selected by a panel of 10 Judges from across the industry.

In a special ceremony at World Travel Market Africa, happening in the City until 17 April, Gansbaai took the coveted position of Overall Winner from of a selection of 22 finalists gathered from around Africa.

“It is exciting to bring the Word Responsible Tourism Awards family of the Awards to Cape Town & Africa” said Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel.

“There are many world-class winners announced. Since 2004 African businesses from 14 countries have won awards, 20% of the Awards winners have been from Africa, 20% of all of those awarded. “

Gansbaai Tourism, with its spectacular Grootbos Nature Reserve and numerous eco-projects including those run by Marine Dynamics have made a significant impact in the area of eco-tourism, with the Judges taking notice.

African Responsible Tourism Winners for 2015

1. Overall Winner – sponsored by Wesgro

Gansbaai –

Judges’ reasons for winning: “This is a remarkable group of tourism businesses many of which have won Responsible Tourism Awards individually, including Grootbos for its conservation of the fynbos and its poverty reduction impact, and Marine Dynamics for conservation and local economic development. The judges want to recognise them for the overall award for the way in which they have worked, together to create a destination, with outstanding product, memorable experiences and brought local economic development and communal facilities to the local community. They have demonstrated what tourism can do to make better places to live in and great places to visit.”

2. Best for Beach Toursim – Supported by BulkSMS and Sharkspotters

Gold Winner: Chumbe Island Coral Park

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Chumbe was highly commended for water conservation in the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2013 and they won the marine environment category in 2004. This time the judges wanted to recognise them for their careful review of progress to 2006 and the development of the new Management Plan 2006-2016. The judges saw this as an example of good practice and one which others should emulate.”

Silver Winner: Nuarro Lodge

3. Best Blog for Responsible Tourism – sponsored by Cape Town Tourism

Gold Winner: The Good Holiday

Judges’ reasons for winning: “The Good Holiday has authenticity, a real sense of care and a true desire to facilitate experiences that are beneficial to all it comes in contact with at the heart of stories told. Interactive and visually appealing, the blog inspires travellers to journey to African places with a unique cultural heritage, places that inspire people to consider a life seeking simple pleasures that tread lightly on the earth.

Silver winner: My Slow Journey

4. Best Destination for Responsible Tourism, sponsored by the V&A Waterfront

Gold Winner: Gansbaai

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Since 1995 Gansbaai Tourism has worked to create awareness of and market the area as a tourism destination. The cluster of businesses in the area, some of them with international reputations, have worked together to develop an exemplary destination, a quality guest experience which has conserved fynbos and marine wildlife, created significant direct and indirect employment and they are now working together to quantify their environmental impacts.

Silver Winners:

– Bigodo Wetlands Sanctuary

– Cape Town

5. Best for engaging people and cultures, sponsored by Gauteng Tourism Authority

Gold Winner: Coffeebeans Routes, Cape Town, South Africa

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Setting an example that could be replicated in other destinations, Cape Town-based Coffeebeans Routes creates travel experiences around urban stories. These are contemporary, urban, African experiences that provide deep insights, and plenty of fun. The experiences bring visitors and locals together across boundaries. Unapologetic about pushing social justice agenda, Coffeebeans Routes employs tourism as a tool to unlock economic potential and address societal inequalities through exploring cultural diversity and legacy.”

Silver Winners:

– Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre

– Nkwichi Lodge

– TFPD Foundation, for the work done at Baleni Camp

6. Best for Poverty Reduction, sponsored by Marine Dynamics

Joint Gold Winner:

– Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in partnership with the Grootbos Foundation

– Transfrontier Parks Destinations

Judges’ reasons for winning: ”Here we have two winners working at different scales – each in their own way using tourism as a vehicle for poverty reduction.

Grootbos is no stranger to winning Responsible Tourism Awards. What stands out is the long history of interventions that amplify each other. The programmes of the Grootbos Foundation focus on improved livelihoods through self-reliance, development of viable enterprise development, gender balance and empowerment of women. Impacts are well quantified and information about projects easily accessible to the willing reader.

The scale and ambition of the Transfrontier Parks Destination’s work is truly remarkable. To actively seek out failing tourism businesses in areas of very high unemployment is very admirable but to them turn them round into viable businesses again employing many locals on a living wage giving them long term stability and income displays true leadership.”

Silver Winner: Stormsriver Adventures

7. Best for resource management, supported by the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa

Gold Winner: Chobe Game Lodge, Botswana

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Chobe Game Lodge is over 40 years old, to refurbish an old structure the size of this lodge, making it more eco-friendly is a mammoth and on-going task. The lodge has a long term approach to energy efficiency with the ultimate aim of reducing dependency on the grid. The most noticeable innovation is the use of All Electric Game Drive Vehicles and Electric game viewing boats.

Silver Winners:

– Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

– Sandele Eco-Retreat and Learning Centre

– Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company

– Vineyard Hotel