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Monday, May 20, 2024
MICEPress Release

Responsible Tourism Leaders Shine at Africa Travel Week 2024 

Responsible Tourism Leaders Shine at Africa Travel Week 2024 

World Travel Market Africa 2024 opened with a dynamic Responsible Tourism session, hosted by Responsible Tourism Advisor Harold Goodwin.  

Three of the five African winners from the 2023 WTM Responsible Tourism Awards were in attendance to share their inspiring stories and demonstrate the exceptional work being done in sustainable tourism across the continent.  

The WTM Responsible Tourism Awards are held during Africa Travel Week and recognise excellence in sustainable tourism practices globally. They have become increasingly important in driving the industry towards a more ethical and environmentally conscious future. Remarkably, all five African winners from 2023 were awarded gold medals in the global competition, proving the exemplary standards within the region. 

During the session, Goodwin highlighted the significance of the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, explaining that the winners were selected because their initiatives are replicable, allowing others in the tourism industry to follow their lead.   

Chas Prettejohn from Ngwena Glass, a glass factory in Esmeralda that recycles waste glass into hospitality products, shared the company’s story of achieving all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through their work. “Entering the awards has helped us to better tell our story and recognise the incredible work our team has done,” Chas said.  

Said Goodwin: “Ngwenya’s brilliant work in turning waste glass into beautiful products is not only an impressive feat of recycling, but their efforts to create a village of small producers around their business is truly inspiring. They are demonstrating how responsible tourism can have a tangible, positive impact on local communities.”  

James Fernie from Uthando South Africa, a nonprofit organisation that connects tourists with community development projects in South Africa, spoke passionately about the meaningful exposure he facilitates. “The awards have given us a powerful platform to promote the amazing work of the people we support, and it has led to increased funding and support for their initiatives.” 

“What Uthando is doing is exceptional – they are not just raising funds for community projects, but they are building meaningful, lasting connections between tourists and the incredible people doing transformative work on the ground. This is the kind of authentic, respectful tourism experience that we need to see more of,” said Goodwin.   

Gulam Sawant from tourism sustainability startup, Weeva, emphasised the importance of the awards in helping them gain visibility and to collaborate with other businesses in the industry.  

“Weeva is not only measuring but encouraging transparency from businesses on their year-on-year progress in reducing emissions and improving social and economic benefits to local communities. This came out of their work in Southern Africa, and they are well-funded and have a global impact. What’s most exciting is that Weeva is helping us move away from greenwashing and opaque certificates, and towards true transparency backed by scientific methodology. This is critically important as new EU legislation requires greater accountability from companies,” said Goodwin.   

The 2024 Responsible Tourism Awards will be announced on the afternoon of 11th April on the Spotlight Theatre at World Travel Market Africa 2024.

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