Cape Town Responsible Tourism Reporting Pilot

The tourism industry in Cape Town is strongly supportive of responsible tourism (RT) in principle, but overall not enough has been done to measure RT implementation in practice. Without reliable data, claims of ‘responsible’ action are weak and progress toward becoming a truly responsible destination remains difficult to measure. However, there are encouraging signs that awareness of the need for such data is growing. The City of Cape Town is working in partnership with industry to highlight best practice in measuring and demonstrating RT implementation, and to encourage their adoption.

The longer-term goal is to create an online system that allows companies in the tourism industry to sign up, receive certain benefits, record their measurements of local responsible tourism indicators and track their own progress toward achieving their targets. Given that the first version of this system is likely to take 12 -18 months to develop and roll out, an interim Responsible Tourism Reporting Pilot has been proposed involving a selection of companies who are known to be implementing responsible tourism practices.

The intention of the RT Pilot is to develop a tool for tourism organisations and businesses in Cape Town to measure and demonstrate their progress toward targets in addressing our seven local priority issues, and to report these in a manner that shows how the city collectively is making progress toward becoming a truly responsible destination. The priority issues for the local industry are the following:

  • Conservation of water resources
  • Energy efficiency
  • Integrated waste management
  • Preferential procurement
  • Enterprise development
  • Skills development
  • Social development

The approach of the Responsible Tourism Pilot has been to select a small number of tourism businesses who have been practitioners of responsible tourism management for a number of years, and assist them at a practical level to set up, collect and monitor the appropriate indicator information. This collaborative process kicked off with the signing of an Enterprise Responsible Tourism Charter for Cape Town by all participants in the pilot on 29 September 2011. 

Initial members of the RT Pilot are the following:

The progress of the RT Pilot will be shared with the industry through updates on the Responsible Cape Town blog at