MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday 7 April 2016, Cape Town
Mara Naboisho takes the Gold at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016
A conservancy that truly and remarkably brings together community and wildlife conservation to make better places to live in and great places to visit was announced Overall Winner this afternoon at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 in Cape Town, sponsored by Wesgro.
In a special ceremony at World Travel Market Africa, Mara Naboisho Conservancy took the coveted position of Overall Winner from a selection of 24 finalists gathered from around Africa.
Says Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judging Panel. “Whilst some of the categories were weaker than others the judges task in determining the winners was more challenging this year, reflecting the development of Responsible Tourism across Africa. All of those longlisted should be recognised as having made a significant contribution and be proud of what they have achieved. As in the World Responsible Tourism Awards the judges looked for winners who might educate and inspire others, for examples of businesses and organisations which are realising the ambition of Responsible Tourism to use tourism to make better places for people to live in; great places to live are great places to visit.
The judges were mindful of the Awards made in previous years in Africa and in the World Responsible Tourism Awards, of which these African Awards are a part. The Gold and Silver Award winners should be particularly proud of what they have achieved; they have been recognised as being leaders in a Responsible Tourism movement where more is being achieved each year, a movement in which it takes more to win each year. If when reflecting on the winners of these and the World Responsible Tourism Awards you know of others you feel should be recognised then please encourage them to enter, the judges can only choose from between those who enter and complete the extensive application process. We encourage them, and other businesses, to continue to take responsibility for increasing the positive, and reducing the negative, impacts of tourism; to communicate what they are doing to use tourism to make better places and to consider entering the Responsible Tourism Awards when there is an appropriate category for their business or organisation.”
Speaking before a packed audience of over 100 tourism professionals, media, ministers and officials, Heidi van der Watt, managing director of Better Tourism Africa pinpointed what makes the Award winners the leaders in responsible tourism in Africa:
“Our winners have a vision that extends beyond the commercial – linking business success with the wellbeing of local communities and the longevity of their environments. They want to make profits with principles, communicate balance sheets alongside beliefs, and won’t undermine passion in the pursuit of professionalism. They are resilient, determined, humanising advocates for their destinations. They are the future of tourism in Africa.”
The Awards were sponsored by the Wesgro. Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro, said:
“As the proud headline sponsor of the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards, Wesgro is delighted to pay tribute to this year’s inspirational winners. As the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, we continue to show our commitment to responsible tourism development both in our province and on the African continent.
We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner. Today, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.”
Read here for the full list of this year’s winners.