African Responsible Tourism Awards 2017
On Thursday, 20 April, the African Responsible Tourism Awards were presented at the World Travel Market Africa expo. The two big winners of the night were South African organizations Blood Lions and Coffee Shack Backpackers who were joint overall winners.
The awards, sponsored by Wesgro and hosted by travel writer Dawn Jorgensen, recognize groups across Africa who are leaders in the responsible tourism movement.
This year, there were seven categories with a gold winner in each, along with the overall winners.
Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion: Coffee Shack Backpackers
Sponsored by Better Tourism Africa
Coffee Shack Backpackers is a backpackers located in Coffee Bay on South Africa’s Wild Coast. Coffee Shack believes in responsible tourism and invests time and resources into supporting and giving back to the local community.
Best for Engaging People and Culture: Ilha Blue Safaris
Sponsored by Transfontier Parks Destinations
Ilha Blue Island Safaris operates on Ilha de Mocambique Island in the Indian Ocean. Ilha blue immerses guests in real island life; experiencing the island’s mix of Mkhuwa, Swahili, Arabic, Indian and Portuguese cultures all while promoting low impact responsible tourism.
Best for Habitat and Species Conservation: All Out Africa
Sponsored by Cape Nature
All Out Africa offer adventure travel that can change lives and runs trips that promote responsible tourism. All Out Africa also has a non-profit arm that puts conservation and social projects into action while also running two research centers.
Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction: Isibinda Africa Lodges
Sponsored by Africa Ignite
Isibindi Africa Lodges operate in South Africa and is built on the philosophy of developing and promoting ecotourism in rural areas of Africa. The lodges engage in community upliftment work and also offer guests opportunities to give back to communities around the lodges.
Best Responsible Tourism Campaign: Blood Lions
Sponsored by Cape Town Pass
Blood Lions film was created as a means to show how people can become involved in the global campaign to stop canned lion hunting. The Blood Lions “Born to Live Wild” campaign is a pledge for wildlife and a means to put an end to lions being bred for hunting.
Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas: Uthando
Sponsored by Marine Dynamics
Uthando is a non-profit tour organization operating in South Africa. The organization main aim is to raise funds for community development projects in South Africa. Uthando uses its responsible tourism model with the aim of eventually linking tourism and community development.
Best Responsible Event: MTN Bushfire
Sponsored by Bulk SMS
MTN Bushfire is an international annual music and arts festival held in Swaziland’s Ezulwini Valley. The 3-day event celebrates culture and Africa coming together. Bushfire promotes giving back and rasues awareness and funds for pressing social needs in Swaziland.
Overall Winners: Blood Lions and Coffee Shack Backpackers
Sponsored by Wesgro
Blood Lion's “Born to Live Wild” campaign highlighted the way raising awareness and engaging industry can affect change. Coffee Shack Backpackers are proof of how a small business can uplift a remote rural community in a big way.
The overall aim of the awards is to promote tourism as a mechanism to create better places to live in through reducing poverty and improving local livelihoods.
MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, rounded off the awards.
“Tourism is a country’s front desk… it is how we welcome the world into our cities, our towns and our countries,” he said, “The role of tourism is becoming more important as the world changes.”
Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners!