Responsible tourism at WTM Africa 2017

For the fourth consecutive year, the City of Cape Town hosted and sponsored WTM Africa – one of Africa’s leading business-to-business exhibitions for Africa’s leisure travel industry. The exhibition was officially opened by the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, on 19 April.

deputy mayor opens wtma 2007
City of Cape Town Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, and CEO of Reed Exhibitions, Carol Weaving, officially open WTM Africa 2017. MP James Vos applauds in the background.

Once again, the trade show had a strong responsible tourism programme that included presentations, panel discussions and a dedicated activation space where businesses operating responsibly could present their work. Topics in the programme included the relationship between tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals, how Africa can leverage its rich cultural heritage to attract tourists and importantly for the many small businesses that make up the tourism industry – market access for small and emerging enterprises.

Cape Town tourism entrepreneurs showcased

Turning Point Guest House at WTM Africa
Turning Point Guest House were one of the small businesses showcased on the Cape Town stand at WTM Africa

Understanding that market access is a challenge for small tourism businesses, for the third year running the City partnered with WTM Africa to host entrepreneurs. Twenty small tourism businesses were selected to showcase their products and engage directly with some of the world’s top travel and tourism industry buyers.

Among these 20 businesses, some are no strangers to responsible tourism. Turning Point Guest House is one of the participants of the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Challenge, a City-initiative to encourage small tourism businesses to operate responsibly. The Challenge is drawing to an end but has been a success for Turning Point. Owners Doris and Isaac Manini are now recycling enthusiasts and the small things they are doing to save electricity has paid off. Read more about their achievements here.

Macassar Pottery, another exhibitor on the Cape Town stand, was a contender in the 2016 African Responsible Tourism Awards in the category for Best for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Co-exhibitor, Maboneng Township Arts Experience, won silver in the 2017 awards.

Cape Town shines at the African Responsible Tourism Awards

Siphiwe and Bongani from the Maboneng Township Arts Experience had to wait until the end of the second day of WTM Africa to hear how they performed in the African Responsible Tourism Awards. Overall the news for Cape Town was great – Cape Town businesses won three awards. 

Uthando won gold in the Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas category. Uthando’s urban philantrophic tours capture the hearts, imagination and support of guests and the tourism industry, generating funds for a diverse array of projects. The list of initiatives in Cape Town’s townships touched by UthandoSA is almost endless. In the 2016 / 2017 fiscal year, Uthando is set to exceed R3 million transferred to 45 community projects – and the judges felt that this is a remarkable impact for a tour operator with only two permanent employees.

Uthando collects african responsible tourism award
Xolani Maseko from Uthando collects their award from Heidi van der Watt from Better Tourism Africa and Zile de Kock from Marine Dynamics

Maboneng Township Arts Experience won silver in the Best for Engaging People and Culture category. Maboneng Township Arts Experience’s aims to turn townships into tourism towns by attracting tourists using the art. The judges appreciated how this lets visitors meet locals in their own homes and experience the wealth of their culture, as well as providing market access for emerging artists and additional household income for artists and the Gallery Homes.

maboneng collects african responsible tourism award
Siphiwe Ngwenya from Maboneng Township Arts Experience collects their award from Minister Alan Winde from the WC Department of Economic Opportunities, Heidi van der Watt from Better Tourism Africa and Prof. Harold Goodwin, the chair of judges.

The Backpack won silver in the category for Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion. Set at the edge of Cape Town’s city centre, the Backpack could quite easily do very well without doing any good.  However, making a difference and creating opportunities for better lives is how the team at the Backpack live and work. The judges commended The Backpack for the breadth of their approach to fair employment conditions for their staff, their support of community initiatives and their all-round commitment to responsible tourism. 

the backpack collect their african responsible tourism award
A well co-ordinated Backpack team collects their award from Minister Alan Winde from Heidi van der Watt from Better Tourism Africa and Prof. Harold Goodwin, the chair of judges.

The total count of Cape Town wins at the African Responsible Tourism Awards is now nine awards over three years. We’re proud of this achievement – a strong showing for any destination.


6 thoughts on “Responsible tourism at WTM Africa 2017

  1. Ow my word, I am speechless, and overwhelmed,good luck to the Award winning businesses of Cape Town,this is a significant impact of hard work . Thank you to Maboneng for perseverance . A big hug to our mentoring team, working tirelessly . Great Applaud to Responsible Tourism Cape Town .Now we can manage our energy efficiency, and save much water,how can I forget Our responsible City of Cape Town All the hard work done as host of WTMAFRICA, and a platform for us to showcase as runner’s up,entrepreneurs. Thank for paving the way for us Heidi Van DerWatt, Lisa Scriven, Andre Harms, Sadia Nannaby,we grow from your lectures,Moving with Cape Town Forward,
    Doris & Isaacs Manini

  2. Turningpoint recently Awarded the prestigious award as Best value establishment 2017 by Accommodation Direct,
    Best Excellence service,
    Best Travelers choice
    Reviewed by the masses mostly International
    From humble beginnings though
    Thank you

  3. Blessed is the day I decided to join Cape Town Tourism as one of their member,little did I realised the talent behind it., and I never looked back, we had been chosen as Winners of the Tourism Board Development Fund 2016, this was of a huge support for our small business, this made a difference. Hoping that as small businesses we will get much support to grow and create jobs, and be of great inspiration to the upcoming youth
    Thank you
    Isaac& zDoris

  4. The Responsible Tourism at WTMAfrica has been of great interest,and so remarkable . It has been of great impact in the small business owners, the Awards encourage entrepreneurs to do more,Thank you to the winners and look forward.
    We are all uniquely different, and will also win categorically,accordingly.
    Forward Cape Town

  5. The Turning point has demonstrated that, yes you can achieve your goals without any government support,but dedication and passion,about sustainability . This has transformed what was initially our vision to be a sensible business , into an example to inspire others, we have grown from this and come out stronger than ever,to succeed.
    Turningpoint B&B is a baby,staggering to prosperity,without any financial support,but perseverance,motivated by 3 Awards.
    Best Value Establishment.
    Best Excellency
    Best Travellers Choice
    Looking forward to our next grading due in a few months,
    This is a challenge.

  6. Extra Ordinaire WTMAfrica 2017 has been a Wow” 4th time around,every year prove success,all well organised,the World was here,, Thank you Cape Town the City has been hosting this event successfully with rewarding results,business to business. Brought the world to a Stand still,buyers were outstanding spot on visibility availability,word of mouth marketing was the best tool . The stands were designed to standard . This is a World class event beyond comparison,.Best wishes to 2018 fifth time to be.

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