Cape Town - The time to crown the African continent's best responsible tourism institution is drawing near, as the finalists for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards have been outlined ahead of Africa Travel Market.
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, sponsored by Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa.
In 2016, Mara Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya was named the Overall Winner of the African Responsible Tourism Awards.
SEE: Mara Nabiosho crowned African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 winner
This year, winners will be selected in seven categories as well as the much-coveted ‘Overall Winner’ on 20 April this year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
A panel of 14 expert judges from across the industry shortlisted 14 organisations from across Africa - including Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya and Mozambique as contenders for the top spots.
South Africa, too, is well-represented with a total of eight tourism authorities listed as finalists.
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According to Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa, "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.”
Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro agrees, saying "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."
The finalists are:
African Impact - South Africa
All Out Africa - Swaziland
Blood LionsTM - South Africa
Coffee Shack Backpackers - South Africa
Wilderness Safaris Damaraland Camp - Namibia
Ilha Blue Island Safaris - Mozambique
Isibindi Africa Lodges - South Africa
Maboneng Township Arts Experience - South Africa
MTN Bushfire - Swaziland
Serena Hotels - Kenya
Nedbank Tour de Tuli - Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa
Uthando - South Africa
Wildlife ACT - South Africa
The Backpack - South Africa
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.
ALSO SEE: Responsible Tourism Awards: What you need to know about this Africa Travel week event
The WTM Responsible Tourism Stand will host past winners of the World and African Responsible Tourism Awards.
The supporters of the African Responsible Tourism Awards are:
Best Accommodation for Social Inclusion – supported by Better Tourism Africa
Best for Engaging People & Culture - sponsored by Transfrontier Parks Destinations
Best Partnership for Poverty Reduction – supported by Africa! Ignite
Best Responsible Tourism Campaign – supported by Cape Town Pass and Cellar in the City
Best for Habitat & Species Conservation – supported by CapeNature
Best Responsible Event – supported by Bulk SMS
Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas – supported by Marine Dynamics
Overall Winner - supported by Wesgro
What to read next on Traveller24:
- Responsible Tourism Awards: What you need to know about this Africa Travel week event
- What you need to know about World Travel Market Africa 2017
- Mara Nabiosho crowned African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 winner