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Green VoiceMap Routes launched in South Africa

The City of Cape Town has taken the lead by launching the first Responsible Tourism Green audio-walk on 28 November 2014, writes Councillor Garreth Bloor.

Developed by Philip Todres of the Cape Town Green Map and Iain Manley of VoiceMap, the Responsible Tourism Green audio-walk is the first of its kind in Africa.

The launch of Responsible Tourism VoiceMap Routes throughout South Africa also marks the international launch of the global platform Green Map System. Cape Town Green Maps is part of the Green Map System global network of more than 800 cities, towns and communities, in more than 60 countries. Green Map System will now be promoting these Green VoiceMap routes worldwide.

The first Responsible Green VoiceMap Route is a walk around the Green Point Park. Tourists will be able to discover how a dysfunctional public space was transformed into a vibrant ‘people’s park.’ VoiceMap is a way of telling stories about places. It is a new medium and while all the complicated technology that lives in a smartphone makes it possible, VoiceMap is quite simple to use. It connects a voice to a location to create an experience that is uniquely immersive and intimate.

‘Using this technology, with a smart phone and headphones, tourists will be able to take an informed and fascinating walk around many of Cape Town’s attractions such as the Khayelitsha Mall, Muizenberg to Kalk Bay and Cape Point among many other attractions. A Slave Route Walk is also being planned,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor.

The Green Point Park VoiceMap route is available for download on an iPhone from the App Store, by searching for VoiceMap or by visiting bit.ly/voicemap on the iPhone. The Android version is currently under development, and is due for release by the end of the year.

“The City of Cape Town also hosted a Responsible Tourism in Cities Conference, to engage the South African tourism industry, key stakeholders and interested individuals in a stimulating dialogue about moving Responsible Tourism practices into the mainstream. Tourism today is facing a period of growth, but with this exciting development comes some challenges. The reality is that the fast paced expansion of tourism in Cape Town, as well as South Africa as a whole, has often ignored the social, economic and environmental impact on our City and our people,” said Councilor Roxanne Hoorn, Portfolio Chairperson for Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

Responsible Tourism is an approach to the management of tourism in order to maximiswe economic, social and environmental benefits while minimising the costs to the City of Cape Town and the country as a whole. In short, Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places to visit.

In her foreword, the Executive Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille said, “By enhancing our efforts to maintain our status as a top destination and establish ourselves as the events capital of Africa, I am hopeful that we will set priorities, build and establish more relations with various role players and continue to work together in a way that encourages and grows a responsible Cape Town.”

The common thread running throughout the discussions at the conference is that Cape Town and South Africa must come together and encourage all tourism role-players to adopt the policies of Responsible Tourism. This will help to improve the sustainability of local businesses, increase destination marketing and which ultimately contribute to the sustainability of the city and the country.

With the City of Cape Town embracing and following Responsible Tourism principles, local communities are respected and involved in the decision-making process and local resources are used sustainably.

In 2015 the City will host the International Responsible Tourism Conference jointly with World Travel Market Africa.