Future Forward Thinking: Honouring sustainable practices in Cape Town's tourism industry

2018-10-30 15:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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the city of cape town from an aerial view

(Photo: iStock)

The future of our tourism industry lies in those businesses that find a way to shape a sustainable future for locals and visitors alike through the experiences they offer, and in the Mother City those forward thinkers were recognised at Cape Town Tourism's Annual General Meeting last week Thursday.

Coming off one of the worst droughts in history which had a negative impact on the city's international image, the tourism authority wanted to celebrate those that live up to these kinds of challenges through sustainable tourism initiatives.

“We recognise that the people of Cape Town, and the tourism industry here, have faced a tough period, but in adversity we find new ways of doing things, and now we are a global leader in sustainable water practices in tourism and beyond," said Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom at the meeting.

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Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy joined in the congratulations, stating that Future Forward will drive their strategic thinking and help address the issues of inclusivity as well as environmental challenges.

"The private and public sector has, over the past year, collaborated to produce meaningful results, and, as Cape Town Tourism, we’d like to acknowledge and thank each and every industry representative for standing firm during this time and acting swiftly to ensure that our industry has a future, a bright one that is a beacon on the global stage of sustainable tourism.

"Together, we are living the goal of being Future Forward.”

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Two initiatives were presented with the organisation's Board Development Fund, which will help their business and concept grow in the industry:

  • 4Roomed eKasi Culture: Founded by former Masterchef SA contestant Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena, this business has a multi-pronged approach to giving visitors a well-rounded experience, from a fine-dining restaurant and food truck, to providing township accommodation and selling decor and vintage clothing. The 4Roomed Pantry also promotes food security and healthy food choices in the townships.
  • ABCD Concepts: This lifestyle marketing tourism start-up offers township experiences with a physical element - jogging, cycling or partying your way through the coolest parts of Khayelitsha. Through these experiences they help change the perception of township life while also stimulating the economy.

The tourism agency's inaugural Future Forward Thinking Awards were also handed out to tourism businesses who go an extra step further to improve their sustainability footprint.

These were the winners in the following categories:

Environmental Sustainability (Tie)

  • Spier Hotel and Wine Farm: They've been implementing sustainable practices since 2009 and have achieved all their goals since then, including being able to measure their impact on the environment and report on water consumption to visitors.
  • Reverie Social Table: This Cape Town eatery in Observatory focuses on environmental management that includes food waste reduction and sourcing vegetables locally when preparing their five-course meals.

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Community Benefit

  • Uthando (Love) South Africa: This company raises funds for early childhood development projects by offering tours to the organisations it supports. While it focuses on making the experience fun for guests, it also safeguards the community through its guest code of conduct. 
  • Warrior on Wheels (Runner-up): This organisation was mentioned for its incredible work at providing spaces to children with disabilities where they can join and participate in tourism activities.

Visitor Experience

  • Marine Dynamics: While this tourism centre gives visitors the chance to experience a Great White and other marine animals up close, it also makes big strides in instilling a lifelong respect for the ocean and its creatures and promote their conservation.

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