#WTMA19 shakes up its Responsible Tourism programme as Grootbos takes top honours

The 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners have been announced on the opening day of WTM Africa, with overall winner Grootbos Private Nature Reserve seen as the benchmark of eco-tourism standards across the continent right now. 

In a welcomed change, the Responsible Tourism seminar will see the winners, including Grootbos, Madumbi Green Fair Festival, !KhwaTtu, Two Oceans Aquarium, Table Mountain Cableway and Meetings Africa, to mention a few, as part of panel discussions over the next two days. This gives the them a concentrated platform to share best practices when it comes to Responsible Tourism standards. See the full programme here

READ: WATCH: Up close and personal with sharks in Gansbaai

The African Responsible Tourism Awards, in its fifth year at WTMA, celebrates the commitment and efforts of individuals, organisations and destinations that use tourism to make Africa better. If you missed out on awards ceremony - catch the winners in the first panel discussion on Thursday, 11 April from 10:15 in the Conference Auditorium at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony, South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom states the importance of being mindful of the power of tourism to build as well as destroy is crucial. 

Hanekom commended the winners saying, it does not work being "only a little bit responsible in our tourism principles, but requires organisations to place it at the heart of what the industry stands for.   

READ: #WTMAfrica19: African Tourism Board to launch, Responsible Tourism Awards and future-fit travel trends

A total of 15 organisations were shortlisted as follows:

• !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre (South Africa) @KhwattuSan 

• Anvil Bay (Mozambique) @Anvil_Bay

• Cape Town Marathon (South Africa) @ctmarathon

• Dorobo Tours and Safaris (Tanzania) @dorobosafari

• Events Greening Forum 2018 Conference & Master Class (South Africa) @EventGreening

• GCIP-SA Annual Awards 2017 (South Africa) @CleantechSA

• Great Plains Conservation Sapi Reserve (Zimbabwe) @GreatPlainsCons

• Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa) @Grootbos (Overall winner)

• Mdumbi Green Fair Festival (South Africa) @Mdumbi Green Fair

• Meetings Africa (South Africa) @SA_NCB

• Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary (South Africa) @PantheraAfrica

• Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (South Africa) @TableMountainCa

• Two Oceans Aquarium (South Africa) @2OceansAquarium

• Ultimate Safaris’ //HUAB Under Canvas (Namibia) @UltimateSafari1

• WOWZULU Isandlwana (South Africa) @wowzulu

As the main sponsor of the awards, Wesgro's Tim Harris highlighted the trend of a calculated world dominated by technology advancement, which indirectly makes the untapped potential of Africa even more appealing. 

African Responsible Tourism Awards organiser Heidi van der Watt, thanked all those who participated and encouraged businesses across the tourism sector to enter - emphasizing that if they did not enter, they could not be considered for the 2020 awards. 

Nominations have opened with the categories for the 2020 awards season with categories for the year ahead defined as follows: 

  • Community Benefits
  • Responsible Experience
  • Habitat and Space Conservation
  • Most Sustainable Event
  • People's Choice Award

The Responsible Tourism Awards would run in addition to the newly launched African edition of the World Travel Market International Travel & Tourism Awards.

READ: World Travel Market to launch African edition of International Travel & Tourism Awards

Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions explains the Africa edition of the International Travel and Tourism Awards will cover important sectors in travel, giving merit and recognition to the travel and tourism companies that best personify the following categories:

1. Best National Tourism Board Campaign/DMO campaign

2. Best Regional/City Campaign

3. Most innovative use of technology within a destination

4. Best agency for tourism marketing

5. Best PR campaign

6. Best Digital Campaign in Tourism

7. Best Digital Influencer in the industry

8. Best Destination for Wellness

9. Best Destination for Responsible Tourism

10. Best Destination for Adventure Tourism

11. Best Destination for Food Tourism

12. Best Destination for LGBT Tourism

Find Your Escape by searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe hereOr download the News24 App hereto receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.