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Minister Derek Hanekom
South Africa is taking its place as a world leader in responsible tourism but should do more to encourage education about it, says Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom.

The Minister’s comments follow the World Responsible Tourism Awards, which were announced in London this week. Hanekom attended the awards ceremony and is leading an SA delegation to the World Tourism Market in London.

“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 grey water and reducing energy use. These establishments are an inspiration to others to follow suit.

Hanekom said SA was expecting substantial growth in tourism over the next two decades and that the country must manage the physical footprint of the projected growth responsibly.

“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.” Hanekom added that the department was looking to incentivise 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.”

Source: Tourism Update