Grootbos Private Nature Reserve has been announced as the overall winner of the African Responsible Tourism Awards for 2019. The announcement was made this afternoon at a ceremony sponsored by Wesgro during day one of the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town.
"As the African Responsible Tourism Awards concludes its fifth year, we are pleased that it has grown in stature year-on-year. The judges are now calibrating the Gold and Silver awards against the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards’ benchmarks.
The African Responsible Tourism Awards recognises leaders in responsible tourism in the most culturally diverse continent and in the city where in 2002 responsible tourism was defined in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations," says Harold Goodwin, chair of the judging panel.
Speaking before an audience of over 100 tourism professionals, media, ministers and officials, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the award winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa: "Our winners have an ethos that extends beyond the commercial – linking thriving business with the wellbeing of local people and the longevity of their environments.
"They want to make profits with principles, communicate bottom lines that balance people, planet and profit, and won’t undermine sustainability in the pursuit of superior product quality. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They provide hope and inspiration for the future of tourism in Africa."
Reflecting on the winners, Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris commented: "Wesgro is pleased with this year’s inspirational winners. They deserve to be recognised for providing leadership and effectively contributing to growing tourism sustainably. Today, we celebrate their commitment and their achievements."
Grootbos has been recognised for its substantial growth in its conservation impacts, in delivery across the economic, social and environmental agendas. These are inclusive of the Football Foundation, which provides positive role models and a safe space for local youth. It reaches 9000 youth each year and provides daily sports coaching in hockey, athletics, soccer and netball and canoeing as well as female empowerment, environmental education, food for sport, grassroots soccer, HIV/Aids and water safety programmes.
Green Futures is a vocational training college. Siyakhula - the social enterprise arm of the Grootbos Foundation, which runs an organic farm, a careers and entrepreneurship programme and support for early childhood development centres.
The full list of this year’s winners is included below:
Overall Winner – Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa) Supported by Wesgro
Best Small Sustainable Event Supported by Cape Whale Coast
Gold: Mdumbi Green Fair Festival (South Africa) Silver: EGF 2018 Conference & Master Class (South Africa) Silver: GCIP-SA Annual Awards 2017 (South Africa)
Best Large Sustainable Event Supported by Cape Whale Coast
Gold: Meetings Africa (South Africa) Silver: Cape Town Marathon (South Africa)
Best for Resource Management
Gold: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (South Africa)
Best Responsible Attraction
Gold: Two Oceans Aquarium (South Africa) One to watch: Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary (South Africa)
Best Responsible Cultural or Heritage Experience
Gold: !Khwattu San Cultural & Education Centre (South Africa) Silver: WOWZULU Isandlwana (South Africa)
Best for Habitat and/or Species Conservation Gold: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa) One to watch: Great Plains Conservation Sapi Reserve
Best for Community Benefit Sponsored by Singer Group
Gold: Dorobo Tours and Safaris (Tanzania) Silver: Ultimate Safaris //HUAB Under Canvas (Namibia) One to watch: Anvil Bay (Mozambique)
Best for Global Goals Reporting Sponsored by BulkSMS
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