Responsible Tourism Networking in South Africa
Responsible Tourism Networking in South Africa

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There has been a lot of activitity in South Africa focusing on responsible travel. The goal of this wiki page is to review the history, curate relevant resources and help people connect and collaborate with one another. Happy networking friends of South Africa.

Voice tours offer green tourism alternative - @janinehutton @TheCapeArgus
How to Build an Eco-Friendly B&B
Marketing Local Travel: Story Sharing and the Social Web in South Africa
BirdLife South Africa: New conservation initiatives in the Garden Route
Two South Africans elected to the board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Sustainable Tourism Network of Southern Africa (STNSA) relaunched as the Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa (STCAA)
Sustainable tourism demand in SA low

Spotlight on canned hunting

Spotlight on cage diving


Embedded Tweets

Responsible Travel in Cities Conference

A Brief History (National)

South Africa adopted responsible tourism as the key guiding principle for tourism development in 1996. In doing so, South Africa selected responsible tourism as a pathway to achieve the goals of sustainable development, i.e. environmental integrity, social justice and economic prosperity.

The 1996 White Paper on Tourism characterized responsible tourism as follows:
  1. a tourism industry is proactively developed and marketed in a responsible manner, so as to create a competitive advantage;
  2. responsibility of the tourism industry to the environment through the promotion of balanced and sustainable tourism as it focuses on the development of environmentally-based tourism activities
  3. responsibility of government and business to involve local communities that are near the tourism plant and attractions through the development of meaningful economic linkages
  4. responsibility to respect, invest in and develop local cultures and protect them from over- commercialization and overexploitation;
  5. responsibility of local communities to become actively involved in the tourism industry, to practice sustainable development and to ensure the safety and security of the visitors;
  6. responsibility to visitors through ensuring their safety, security and health;
  7. responsibility of both employers and employees in the tourism industry to each other as well as to the customer.
  8. responsibility of government as well as the tourists themselves to observe the norms and practices of South Africa, particularly with respect to the environment and culture.

In 2002, the former Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) developed National Guidelines for Responsible Tourism and a Responsible Tourism Manual. In the same year the first two certification schemes started up.
2002 Responsible Tourism Guidelines.pdf
2002 Responsible Tourism Manual_1.pdf

By 2009, it was clear that despite more than a decade's experience with responsible tourism, many 'responsible tourism' initiatives and businesses were not embracing the three main elements of responsible and sustainable tourism, i.e. social, environmental and economic responsibility. Several different sets of criteria were used to certify tourism businesses. Tourism businesses and consumers found it difficult to evaluate the credibility of certification schemes, and to determine whether the certification criteria used are in line with national policy. Inconsistent interpretations of responsible tourism also confused consumers, potentially damaging the reputation of the destination.

In 2011, The National Department of Tourism developed a standard for responsible tourism (SANSRT), published by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) as a South African national Standard (SANS). The SANSRT:
  • establishes a common understanding of responsible tourism
  • promotes responsible tourism in the tourism sector, including accommodation, hospitality, travel distribution systems, as well as all organs of state and entities, organized labour and communities involved or interested in the tourism sector in South Africa,
  • establish the minimum criteria for certification of the sustainability of organizations in the tourism sector, and
  • is in line with the National Guidelines for Responsible Tourism and the global sustainable tourism criteria.

SANS1162 - Final 31 03 11.pdf

The SANSRT targets the following: 1) Agencies running programmes certifying the sustainability of tourism businesses; 2) Tourism businesses preparing for certification or simply evaluating the businesses progress in respect of sustainability, and 3) Tourism organisations, such as Local Tourism Organisations or sector organisations, to create awareness amongst their members about responsible tourism, and as a benchmark for their members to work towards

The 2011 National Tourism Sector Strategy has as its vision “boldly growing responsible tourism together to deliver memorable experiences for all our tourists and sustainable benefits for all South Africans”.

Responsible Tourism is a core principle of South Africa's Tourism Act enacted on Youth Day, 2014.

Tourism Act No. 3 of 2014

Tourism Act signed into law



March 9 Responsible Travel and Wildlife Conservation Hangout

Past events

17 September 2011 Cape Town Fringe Networking

12 September - Official launch of the South African National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism (NMSRT) at the Featherbed Nature Reserve in Knysna.
Details on
Ron's blog
Cape Town Tourism responds to National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism
Flickr photos from RT Activist document the NMSRT Launch

Imvelo Awards
9 November

June 2011 - "Putting Responsible Tourism to work in your business" workshops, hosted by City of Cape Town More information

Responsible Cape Town blog
Afrika T

Responsible Cape Town
Responsible Tourism South Africa (Closing January 2016)
Better Tourism -
This group is about showcasing the efforts and successes of African destinations and tourism businesses to live the values and principles of the 2002 Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations. Let’s share our opinions here, keep an open discussion and give credit to those that 'make better places for people to live in and visit.' ·

Responsible Tourism South Africa
Ecotourism Africa


South African National Parks



How do we improve RT Networking in South Africa?
How do we improve networking around the world about RT in South Africa?


Peter Myles

Responsible Tourism Operators - - -

Paul Miedema founder Calabash profile

National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism
NDT to combat ‘green-washing’ with new National Minimum Standard

Vineyard Hotel!/Roy_Davies

Tourism Industry

Southern African Tourism Services Association -
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal
South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) -

Responsible Travel Magazine

The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance consists of 3 sanctuaries = Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary

Ecotourism Survey

The Tourism Research entity (TREES) at North West University, in collaboration with South African National Parks (SANParks), is conducting research to develop responsible ecotourism rating/grading criteria for SANParks. The closing date of the Responsible Ecotourism survey is 18 July 2013. Details

Tourism Portals - SA Tourism Update Online

National Tourism Sector Strategy
Launch of the National Tourism Sector Strategy
Executive Summary (PDF)
Media Statement (DOC)
Can SA make the Top 20 by 2020?

Tourism Certification Schemes

Fair Trade in Tourism
Heritage Environmental Management Company

Tourism Critiques
Open letter to Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk


Institute for Tourism and Leisure Studies at the North-West University in Potchefstroom.

Some Thoughts On the State of Cultural Tourism in South Africa
Some Thoughts on the State of Cultural Tourism in South Africa: Possible Solutions


September 2 - 4
suggested hashtag: #SATTIC2012
The South African Travel and Tourism Industry Conference on Facebook

September South Africa National Parks Week

Great Guides - -

Tourism Snapshot 2010

South Africa attracted 8.1 million international arrivals in 2010, up from 7.0 million in 2009
The biggest gains were from the Americas and Asia & Australia, up 37.4% and 37.4% respectively
Foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa increased by 3.8% in March 2011 over March 2011

South African National Standard for Responsible Tourism


Artwork / Cue Yourself

Responsible Tourism Guide Cape Town