Cape Town - Responsible Travel, a website dedicated to advocating sustainable and responsible travel throughout the world, has published the first league table of tourist boards, and South Africa has gain a top spot on the list of sustainable countries along with Bhutan, Sweden and England.
Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, praised South Africa specifically for their achievement in making responsible tourism such a priority.
READ: Responsible Souvenirs: from SA with love...
Other African countries did not fare as well as SA on the list, with Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya scoring 4 out of 6, Zambia scoring 2 out of 6, Madagascar scoring 3 out of 6, and Botswana, with the closest score to SA's, scoring at 5 out of 6.
The countries were graded by their tourism boards' commitment to responsible tourism, as outlined on their websites, and asked whether more should be done to ensure tax payers’ money is being used to promote local over global initiatives.
The national tourist board websites of Responsible Travel’s top 50 selling countries were examined and six questions were asked, relating to tourists boards’ vision, policies and activity in responsible and sustainable tourism.
The questions were:
1. Is there any mention anywhere of responsible or sustainable tourism?
2. Does responsible or sustainable tourism feature in their vision/mission?
3. Do they have any specific policies for responsible or sustainable tourism?
4. Do they have evidence based reports on any achievements in responsible or sustainable tourism?
5. Do they identify holidays on their site that have been screened or audited for responsible tourism?
6. Do they provide any educational information or tips for tourists about responsible tourism?
A maximum of 6 points (all covered) and a minimum of 0 could be scored.
Out of the tourist boards surveyed, seven scored 0. These boards belonged to China, Finland, Ethiopia, Vietnam, France, Japan and the USA, meaning they had no reference to responsible or sustainable tourism anywhere on their sites.
On the contrary, Bhutan, South Africa, England and Sweden all scored 6 points.
Justin Francis says South Africa sets a true example of how national and local strategies were implemented in order to achieve responsible tourism. "In many cases around the world," Francis says, "we think responsibility in tourism is being achieved despite the tourist board not because of it. South Africa, however is a real exception."
Because "strategies for responsible tourism is enshrined in law and policy in South Africa, with real programs of work to deliver it, results are evident," says Francis.
He believes that "without any clearly visible published policies for responsible tourism we cannot be sure tourist boards have any way to manage tourism for the benefit of local communities".
The full table of responsible countries is as follows:
6 out of 6
5 out of 6
4 out of 6
3 out of 6
2 out of 6
1 out of 6
Trinidad & Tobago
0 out of 6
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