2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards Finalists Named

Part of the ARTA 2017 panel of judges

South Africa - A community-based camp located in remote Namibia, two backpackers and a mountain bike tour in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Area, are among the thirteen organisations selected as the finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards.

South Africa’s Western Cape Province’s official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town (Wesgro) is the sponsor of the awards organised by Better Tourism Africa.

With seven categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’ the competition is stiff among the finalists announced on 7 April 2017.

The shortlisting of finalists was conducted in Johannesburg with the panel of fourteen expert judges from within the industry giving the nod to organisations from across Africa including countries like Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique.

Reflecting on the decisions made on the Judging Day, Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel and WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, said, “There were many excellent businesses and organisations on the shortlist for the Awards and much debate amongst the judges about each of the categories. It is an achievement to be on the shortlist and to be a finalist; these are very prestigious and competitive awards. We have inspiring Gold and Silver winners again this year, large and small, reflecting the range of Responsible Tourism practice in Africa. I hope you will be as inspired as the judges were, by the range and quality of the shortlist and by the finalists.”

Some of the finalists include African Impact from South Africa, All out Africa and MTN Bushfire from Swaziland as well as Wildlife Act, a hands-on conservation organization offering an opportunity for volunteers and students to work in South Africa, Botswana, Malawi & Seychelles.

Commenting on the finalists, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa, said, “This year’s finalists are worthy examples of change makers who bravely use tourism to create positive change for Africa’s people and environments. From a music festival in an unlikely destination, a hard-hitting documentary and cultural tours that tell the stories of the residents of a beach town – the shortlist has a lot to say about where responsible tourism on the continent is, and where it is going next.” 

The African Responsible Tourism Awards will see finalist organisations vying for best accommodation for social inclusion, best for engaging people and culture, and best responsible event among other accolades.

Award winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 during WTM Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.