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World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014
SA World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014 winners
South African tourism shone under the global spotlight when the winners of the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Awards were announced in London today.

These awards are the largest and most respected responsible tourism awards in the world. Now in their 11th year, the awards aim to develop quality tourism products that promote cultural integrity and environmental protection.
 
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who attended the awards ceremony leading the SA delegation to the World Tourism Market, congratulated Hotel Verde in Cape Town for winning Gold as Best City Hotel for Responsible Tourism, the V&A Waterfront winning Gold as Best Destination for Responsible Tourism, and South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance for winning Gold as Best Global Animal Welfare Initiative. Mdumbi Backpackers was a finalist for Best for Poverty Reduction.

Every year there is also a winner of winners - a Gold winner amongst the Gold winners. The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance won this Overall Winner category award.

“These awards are significant for the entire Tourism industry in South Africa. It shows that South Africa is taking its place as a world leader in responsible tourism,” said Minister Hanekom. 

“Many travellers are now making decisions based on fair trade, community benefits and sustainable development practices. In response to this, more of our destinations are implementing sustainable principles like recycling greywater and reducing energy use.  These establishments are an inspiration to others to follow suit.

“We expect substantial growth in tourism in South Africa over the next two decades. While we welcome the additional contribution that this will make to the national economy, and the creation of more jobs in tourism, we must manage the physical footprint of the projected growth responsibly, especially its potential impact on local culture and ecosystems,” said Minister Hanekom.

The need for tourism businesses to look after the environmental, economic and social elements of their enterprise is a key pillar in the recently revised Tourism Act of 2014.

South Africa has become the second country in the world, after Brazil, to develop National Minimum Standards for Responsible Tourism. 

“I believe we can do more to educate and activate travel consumers to support responsible tourism. This will accelerate the implementation of responsible tourism principles by destination operators even further.

“We will look at incentivising the retrofitting of tourism attractions and accommodation facilities for energy saving, water efficiency and accessibility for travellers with physical limitations. This could create new jobs for years to come, lower operational costs and do what is best for the environment,” said Minister Hanekom.

Enquiries: 

Mr Praveen Naidoo
Ministry of Tourism
Cell: +27 (0) 81 475 1056