Responsible Tourism Awards at Africa Travel Week 2024 | The Planner

The winners of the prestigious World Travel Market Africa (WTMA) Responsible Tourism Awards were announced at Africa Travel Week 2024 in Cape Town. Bangu Masisi of Transfrontier Parks Destinations unveiled the honourees, celebrating businesses and initiatives making a significant impact through responsible tourism practices.

“These awards are crucial to WTM Africa’s responsible tourism programme, and highlighting those who have truly made a difference is vital for encouraging others to follow suit,” said Masisi.

Alderman James Vos opened the awards ceremony, congratulating the winners and stressing the importance of sustainable business practices in the tourism industry. “When it comes to sustainable business practices, let’s keep pushing those boundaries,” said Vos.

The 2024 awards featured six categories, with gold and silver winners receiving trophies crafted by Ngwenya Glass. Five of the eight global winners from the 2023 Global Responsible Tourism Awards hailed from Africa.

Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa’s responsible tourism advisor and one of the judges, said, “Congratulations to the winners. I’m also very excited about those recognised as ‘ones to watch’ in the awards. These are often new ideas from new people, and it’s thrilling to see these businesses come to the forefront.”

The winners of the World Travel Market Africa (WTMA) Responsible Tourism Awards 2024 are:

Gold: Denis Private Island – Seychelles

Denis Private Island was honoured for its comprehensive approach to sustainable tourism, focusing on the restoration and conservation of the island’s natural habitats and wildlife. The eco-lodge’s operations fund this work and are driven by the owners’ deep commitment to the Seychelles’ environmental heritage.

Silver: !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre – South Africa
One to Watch: HBD Príncipe – São Tomé and Príncipe
One to Watch: Plett Ocean – South Africa

Gold: Grootbos Lodge & the Green Futures College – South Africa

The Grootbos Foundation received a Responsible Tourism Award for utilising tourism to drive sustainable development. Supported by the business and donors, the foundation has provided training to over 200 graduates, entrepreneurship support to nearly 1 000 individuals, and empowered female biodiversity stewards. These initiatives demonstrate the foundation’s commitment to investing in local communities and preserving the unique fynbos ecosystem.

Silver: Save Wildlife – Uganda
One to Watch: Matoke Tours – Uganda
One to Watch HBD: Príncipe – São Tomé and Príncipe

Gold: Warrior on Wheels Foundation – South Africa

Warrior on Wheels was awarded a Responsible Tourism Award for providing empowering sport and adventure experiences to children with disabilities, altering perceptions and bridging the divide between able-bodied and differently-abled communities. As a not-for-profit dependent on sponsorships and partnerships, Warrior on Wheels has organised over 89 experiences for more than 100 families since its inception eight years ago.

One to Watch: Bontel Adventures – Kenya

Gold: Okavango Gin

Okavango Gin received a Responsible Tourism Award for its sustainable and community-focused practices. The gin is made using locally sourced ingredients, is distilled off-grid, and incorporates recycled materials – creating an authentic product that supports the local economy. The company’s innovative approach has led to 75% revenue growth and now directly employs six people, with additional jobs in the supply chain. The judges were impressed by how Okavango Gin captures the essence of the Okavango Delta while delivering a positive impact.

Silver: Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre – Uganda

Gold: Ecodrop – Zimbabwe

Ecodrop was recognised with a Responsible Tourism Award for its innovative solution to eliminate single-use plastic bottles in Southern Africa’s tourism sector. Ecodrop provides reverse osmosis water dispensers and reusable bottles, removing over 72 000 plastic bottles at Victoria Falls in just 10 months. The judges were impressed by Ecodrop’s scalable, destination-level system that reduces waste and petroleum demand, showcasing the viability of this model in tackling plastic pollution in tourism.

Silver: Century City Conference Centre – South Africa
One to Watch: Sunsail and The Moorings

Gold: Trip to Help – Kenya & Tanzania

Trip to Help, a travel agency in East and North Africa, received a responsible tourism award for its sustainable and ethical practices. The company’s mission is to “Travel Consciously, Sustainably and Fairly,” providing experiences that benefit local communities. Trip to Help ensures 80% of payments go directly to the local economy, and the people they work with earn a living wage. The company also supports over  ,000 children’s access to free education, including English lessons, in Maasai areas, contributing to its industry recognition.

Silver: Traditional African Homestays – South Africa
One to Watch: Come Make We Go – Nigeria
One to Watch: Cultural Oneness Festival Ghana

The Gold winners in the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Awards presented here are automatically entered into the Sabre Global Responsible Tourism Awards.