The aims of Cape Town’s seven responsible tourism priority areas is to improve the social fabric of the area and still maintain its standard as a world-class tourism destination. There are many benefits of this approach for Cape Town, the tourism industry, individual tourism businesses, tourists and Capetonians. Here are some of the main benefits:
Creating better working environments results in happier, more loyal staff who, in turn, tend to be more effective at their day-to-day jobs and contribute to the creation of a better overall visitor experience. These quality employment opportunities, likewise, create a stronger base for local economic development and career versatility throughout the sector (and even associated sectors).
Using resources more efficiently has a direct cost-savings impact; reducing resource consumption equates to financial savings for your business. It also lightens the sector’s demand on these limited resources, thereby making Cape Town a more sustainable place to live and visit.
Businesses that can identify others that are also on the responsible tourism journey can network to find solutions to common challenges. For example, with new and efficient technology being continuously developed, businesses can exchange their experiences and recommend the best options for various contexts.
Increasing consumer preference is being given to businesses that demonstrate their commitment to a healthier planet and respect for local people; in fact, some research suggests that this is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Businesses who can demonstrate this commitment will, therefore, have a competitive advantage over others.
There is also a growing consumer demand for travel experiences that are more representative of the local culture, customs, and environments of the destination. Responsible tourism’s focus on reflecting local culture and generating local benefits has this result, thereby attracting this market segment, whether these travellers know they are buying a ‘responsible’ holiday or not. This focus on ‘local’ also creates superior visitor experiences by reflecting local life more accurately and providing a better understanding of our city’s (and our country’s) challenges and successes, including the social and environmental issues it faces.
Ensuring that tourism products are accessible to locals (i.e. are affordable) creates opportunities for local families to enjoy our city, thereby growing new markets and filling gaps in the industry. The potential for improved leisure access for Capetonians has a general benefit to society, along with the creation of communal recreational spaces and the protection of local natural and cultural environments. Tourism businesses with improved accessibility appeal to a wider range of visitors. It’s not just disabled visitors who beneﬁt; its families, older people, practically all of your visitors in one way or another. Making your business an accessible tourism business is simply a smart business move.
In addition, the tourism sector itself can generate demand for more sustainably produced goods and services through its procurement strategy. By focusing on ‘greener’ and ‘fairer’ purchasing, tourism businesses can encourage their supply chain to modify their operating business choices.
This post is an excerpt from the Responsible Tourism in Cape Town: How-To Guide, guidelines for implementing responsible practices in the tourism industry. The how-to guide can be downloaded here.