Organs focusing on responsible tourism encouraged to enter SADC awards
The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) has partnered with the African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) and are encouraging organisations to put in more entries for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) awards.
The aim of the awards is to inspire change in the tourism sector by showcasing examples that tourism providers can learn from.
Thembi Kunene-Msimang, Chief Executive Officer of RETOSA said one of their objectives is to mainstream responsible practices across all RETOSA members and the awards do not only recognise the efforts of tourism organisations to operate responsibly, but also demonstrates the difference that taking responsibility can make.
“It can educate and inspire others to be more responsible therefore by highlighting individual achievement can help SADC achieve theirs,” she added.
She said that thus far there have been no shortages of responsible tourism award winners from SADC because in the three years that the awards have been running 46 awards have been handed to tourism organizations from SADC countries.
Winners have flown flags from Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania and tourism organizations from SADC countries have also gone on to shine against stiff competition in the global challenge, the World Responsible Tourism Awards where they have racked up 11 wins since 2015.
She explained that despite the stellar success of tourism organisations from SADC in the African and world awards, there are still many responsible tourism champions that are yet to step in to the spotlight.
“The partnership between RETOSA and ARTA aims to increase the number of candidates entering the awards from SADC countries and as we represent 14 Southern African countries, we are in a good position to publicize the awards and reach new candidates,” she emphasized.
The main objectives of RETOSA is to facilitate and promote the development of equitable and ethical tourism through sustainable initiatives, effective destination marketing and improved regional competitiveness.