Most tourism businesses likely have a niggling awareness that they could do more for the planet and local people. But what to do, and where to start? How much effort and money will it take? And how to fit greening and caring into the long list of daily tasks of a small business? To provide answers to these, and a multitude of other questions is precisely why the City of Cape Town’s Tourism Department is working with four tourism businesses in the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge. The small accommodation establishments will be guided to implement sustainable operating practices over a period of six months. Along the way, the stories of their ‘responsible tourism journey’ will be told online so that other tourism business can follow their actions, achievements, and costs saved. Read more below…
Cape Town has a solid foundation upon which Responsible Tourism can thrive. The City has supported the principles of Responsible Tourism (RT) since the 2002 Cape Town Declaration and together with industry partners identified Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism priorities and developed a policy and action plan.
However, Cape Town cannot truly be a responsible tourism destination unless there is widespread adoption within the local industry. How destinations can achieve this was one of the topics explored during the 11th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD11) hosted by the City of Cape Town in 2015. Consequently, the City created the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge as both a legacy of the conference and to encourage change among tourism businesses.
The challenge aims to give practical information on how tourism businesses can implement responsible tourism and create industry awareness of the benefits of responsible tourism. It targets small tourism businesses as they represent the majority of the tourism industry, and also because small businesses often find it difficult to introduce new ways of doing business.
The Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge was officially launched at WTM Africa in early April 2016 with a call for applications, and four participating businesses were confirmed following an information session on 30 May 2016.
Meet the participants
The businesses represent common types of small accommodation establishments found in Cape Town, and can be found in different parts of the city. They are:
- The Backpackers in Green Point: a 19-room hostel in Green Point.
- The Lodge at Atlantic Beach: a four-star graded, 21-room country house located in Melkbosstrand.
- Moonglow Guest House: a four-star graded, 6-room guest house in Glencairn.
- Turning Point Guest House: a four-room guest house in Kuils River
Turning Point Guest House is also a beneficiary of Cape Town Tourism’s Board Development Fund for 2016. The fund was established in 2013 to assist SMMEs owned by historically disadvantaged individuals grow their tourism business. Each year two businesses receive financial support as well as non-financial support through coaching, mentoring and complimentary membership to Cape Town Tourism. The guest house’s owners used the support from the Board Development Fund to reach a three-star guest house grading which they were awarded in June 2016.
Follow their journeys
This is how you can follow the stories of these intrepid businesses: