A community-based camp located in remote Namibia, two backpackers and a mountain bike tour in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Area are among the organisations selected as finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (#ARTA17) – sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa.
Who will take the top spots?
With seven categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’, the competition has stepped up a notch for the finalists announced today.
Following an intense debate on the Judging Day, which was held in Johannesburg on 7 April, the panel of 14 expert judges from across the industry shortlisted 13 organisations from across Africa – including Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique. The finalists are:
- African Impact @African_Impact
- All Out Africa @alloutafrica
- Blood LionsTM @Blood_Lions
- Coffee Shack Backpackers @CoffeeShackBP
- Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp @WeAreWilderness
- Ilha Blue Island Safaris @ilhablue.islandsafaris
- Isibindi Africa Lodges @IsibindiAfrica
- Maboneng Township Arts Experience @MabonengArts
- MTN Bushfire @bushfirefest
- Serena Hotels @serenahotels
- Nedbank Tour de Tuli @WeAreWilderness
- Uthando @UthandoSouthAfr
- Wildlife ACT @wildlifeact
The supporters of the African Responsible Tourism Awards are:
- Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion – supported by Better Tourism Africa @RespTourismSA
- Best for Engaging People & Culture – sponsored by Transfrontier Parks Destinations @TFPD_SA
- Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction – supported by Africa! Ignite @AfricaIgnite
- Best Responsible Tourism Campaign – supported by Cape Town Pass and Cellar in the City @CapeTownPass
- Best for Habitat & Species Conservation – supported by CapeNature @CapeNature1
- Best Responsible Event – supported by Bulk SMS @BulkSMS
- Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas – supported by Marine Dynamics @MarineDynamics
- Overall Winner – supported by Wesgro @Wesgro
The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced during WTM Africa at an awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at 16.30 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. A celebratory function will follow the ceremony. Winners will be available on the WTM Responsible Tourism Stand (W54) from 10.30 – 11.30 on Friday 21 April 2017 for media interviews.
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 tells 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.”
Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel and WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, reflected on the decisions made on the Judging Day: “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 .”
Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, is looking forward to the ceremony: “We would like to congratulate all those selected by the Judges as finalists for the African Responsible Tourism Awards this year. These forward thinking and innovative organisations are true examples of how we can take the tourism industry to new heights in a sustainable and attractive manner. We look forward to the awards ceremony on 20 April at WTM Africa, where we will celebrate the winners in person.”
The African Responsible Tourism Awards are part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa. The responsible tourism programme includes three panel discussions on market access for small businesses, responsible tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the cultures and heritages of Africa, as well as a social media challenge for digital influencers, the media and travel trade. The WTM Responsible Tourism Stand will host past winners of the World and African Responsible Tourism Awards.