Apply to participate in the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge

Tourism businesses that have been flirting with the idea of adopting responsible tourism operations but haven’t managed to do so yet now have an added incentive – the City of Cape Town is offering to help five accommodation establishments make the change.

If you’re a tourism business owner, we understand why you may not have made the switch to responsible tourism yet. You might be convinced that responsible tourism is good for your business (read more about the benefits of responsible tourism here) but the pressures of running your business means that you haven’t had the time to do anything about it. You might also think putting responsible tourism systems in place is difficult and costly.

When deciding how best to create a legacy from the International Conference on Responsible Tourism (RTD11) that was hosted in Cape Town in 2015, the City opted to offer support to tourism businesses that have good intentions that hasn’t yet converted to action. The bigger picture is to demonstrate to the industry what the City already knows – that responsible tourism is good business.

We’re hoping that by introducing the right actions and technologies, tourism business owners will begin to realise that there’s value in responsible tourism and begin to do more to ensure that their businesses operate sustainably and thrive.

What is the process?

Applications to participate in the challenge are open to any accommodation establishment that meet the basic criteria. Five accommodation establishments will be selected to participate in the challenge. Over a six month period a responsible tourism specialist from Better Tourism Africa will assess the businesses, help to develop a sustainability plan and train management and staff to implement the changes needed.

Along the way, we’ll introduce you responsible tourism operating practices and technologies. At all stages, we will be measuring the results of the changes made.

As much as possible, we will report results on the Responsible Cape Town website and social media to give other tourism businesses a sense of the successes that resulted from adapting your business operations.

Costs to businesses

If your business has only one electrical distribution board, there will be no cost to your business. One device is needed per distribution board and the project budget allows for one energy monitoring device to be installed per business.

If your business has more than one distribution board, this does not disqualify you if you are willing to pay towards additional energy monitoring devices.

Criteria for selection

To qualify for this support, accommodation establishments must meet the following basic criteria:

  • all required business registrations in place
  • no municipal debt
  • minimum three years in operation
  • a minimum of five rooms, with all guest rooms in one building (or the business must be willing to pay towards additional energy monitoring device/s)
  • all guest rooms served by one distribution board (or the business must be willing to pay towards additional energy monitoring device/s)
  • exempt micro enterprise (maximum R5 million turnover – letter from auditor/accountant as proof)
  • minimum of 40% average occupancy for the past year
  • utility bills or receipts available for prior 12 months (or be willing to obtain these)
  • occupancy data available for prior 12 months
  • no resource efficiency technologies (e.g. solar panels, heat pumps, grey water systems) in place
  • must be committed to using the energy monitoring device for a minimum of one year after the end of the initial contract period, failing which the device must be returned to the City

How to apply?

Complete the online form by 6 May 2016. You will need the following documents ready before completing the form:

  • The business’ most recent rates account
  • A letter from an accountant or auditor verifying when the business was established and that the annual turnover is less than R5 million 

We will notify all qualifying businesses within two weeks of the closing date and an information session will be held shortly thereafter, after which the final five participating businesses will be selected.


For more information, email Sadia or call her on 072 662 5410.