#WTMA16 opens: Africa tourism edged on to more than just retrofit its responsibility

2016-04-06 14:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town – The third annual World Travel Market Africa, as part of Africa Week, has kicked off in Cape Town and Responsible Tourism has been a fierce factor as part of the overall message. 

Officially opened by Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa, the minister affirmed SA’s diversity and the African continent as a whole for its mainstream tourist attractions as well its business tourism and conferencing facilities.

However, Xasa recognised that Responsible Tourism needed to be ingrained more strongly within the industry beyond just surface engagement, as she encouraged retrofitting tourism attractions and accommodation for energy and water efficiency as well as universal accessibility.

“Sector-wide retrofitting could create new and green jobs for years to come, and lower operational costs while doing what is best for the environment. I would however encourage you to think beyond green building design and energy efficiency in physical facilities,” Xasa said.

The deputy minister highlighted analysis of supply chains, including the procurement of sustainable food supplies, lower-carbon land transport and waste management as a key starting point.

“And, very importantly, the extent to which local communities benefit,” said Xasa.

The issue of water scarcity was also expanded on during the Responsible Tourism Business Seminar -for Accommodation Providers, with consumption set to become critical in 2035 unless solutions were put in place.

Traveller24 previously reported how a hotel water consumption study conducted by the Westin Hotel in CapeTown estimated their average water usage per month in 2015 as 4.5 million litres at 65% occupancy, a figure which amounts to over 56 000 bathtubs of water monthly.

The group said it recently launched a global strategy in 2009 called 30/20 by 20, which aims to use innovative technology and techniques such as smart irrigation and flow trackers to cut energy use by 30% and water use by 20% by 2020 across all hotels globally. 

As part of this strategy on the local front, the hotel has also introduced the ‘Make a Green Choice” programme, which incentivises guests to conserve water by way of declining housekeeping services in exchange for R85 off their next restaurant bill, or earn points that are then donated to UNICEF’s environmental work for children. 

Championing sustainable best practices within the industry and speaking at the Responsible Business seminar at WTMA16 was Hotel Verde, who is once again in the running for a Responsible World Tourism Award.

The hotel said it has plans to expand its Green Hotel footprint and continues to make available its best practice principals that has seen the hotel conserve the equivalent of 5.3m Kgs of coal in 2015 alone. But as Professor Goodwin, facilitator of the seminar and one of the judges in the Responsible Tourism Awards says, "how new hotels, that will undoubtedly be around in 30 or years, are still being built without these fundamental principles in place from the ground up is just unbelievable".

For the full WTMA16 Events Programme click here.

Added to this, the winners of the Responsible Tourism Awards will be announced during WTMA – see the finalists here

Africa Travel Week is the continent’s largest international travel industry event. The show attracts approximately 500 international tourism industry buyers, 4 500 trade visitors, 220 media and 1 700 exhibiting personnel from across Africa and the world.

The event is made up of three co-located World Travel Market shows, i.e. World Travel Market Africa, the International Luxury Travel Market Africa, and the Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Africa events.

Entry to WTM Africa is free during online pre-registration. Visitors and media can pre-register atwww.wtmafrica.com/registration.

Show dates are as follows:

·         International Luxury Travel Market Africa: 4 – 6 April 2016

·         World Travel Market Africa event: 6 – 8 April 2016

·         Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Africa event: 8 April 2016

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