RETOSA & Bet­ter Tourism Africa Team up to Pro­mote Sus­tain­able Toursm in SADC


Nomad Africa Magazine - - Inside Issue11 - Words: KRISTIE OMAR

The Re­gional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion of South­ern Africa (RETOSA) has part­nered with the African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Awards (ARTA) to en­cour­age more en­tries to the awards from the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC). RETOSA is the SADC body re­spon­si­ble for the des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing of the re­gion, which is made up of 14 amaz­ing coun­tries.

the pri­mary ob­jec­tives of RETOSA are to fa­cil­i­tate and pro­mote the devel­op­ment of eq­ui­table and eth­i­cal tourism through sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives, ef­fec­tive des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing, and im­proved re­gional com­pet­i­tive­ness.

For the fourth year run­ning, Wes­gro, the of­fi­cial tourism, trade & in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, is the head­line spon­sor. The aim of the awards is to in­spire change in the tourism sec­tor by show­cas­ing ex­am­ples that tourism providers can learn from. This links per­fectly with RETOSA’s ob­jec­tive to grow the ca­pac­ity among tourism providers to de­liver tourism in the SADC re­gion that is sus­tain­able. Thembi Kunene-Msi­mang, RETOSA’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer says “One of our ob­jec­tives is to main­stream re­spon­si­ble prac­tices across all RETOSA mem­ber states. The African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Awards not only recog­nises the ef­forts of tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions to op­er­ate re­spon­si­bly, it also de­mon­strates the dif­fer­ence that tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity can make. It can ed­u­cate and in­spire oth­ers to be more re­spon­si­ble. High­light­ing in­di­vid­ual achieve­ments can help SADC achieve theirs.” Thus far there have been no short­ages of re­spon­si­ble tourism award win­ners from SADC. In the three years that the African Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Awards has been run­ning, a whop­ping 46 awards have been handed to tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions from SADC coun­tries. Win­ners have flown flags from Botswana, Mozam­bique, Namibia, South Africa, Swazi­land and Tan­za­nia.

Tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions from SADC coun­tries have also gone on to shine against stiff com­pe­ti­tion in the global chal­lenge – the World Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Awards. SADC coun­tries have racked up 11 wins since 2015.

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 into the spot­light. The part­ner­ship be­tween RETOSA and ARTA aims to in­crease the num­ber of can­di­dates en­ter­ing the awards from SADC coun­tries. As a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of 14 South­ern African coun­tries, RETOSA is in a good po­si­tion to pub­li­cise the awards and reach new can­di­dates.

Heidi van der Watt, founder of the African awards and di­rec­tor of the or­gan­is­ers, Bet­ter Tourism Africa, is also en­thu­si­as­tic about the part­ner­ship: “Some sto­ries of re­spon­si­ble tourism from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana are very well­known. But there are thou­sands of tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions in SADC and we are sure that there are other re­spon­si­ble tourism cham­pi­ons among them. We’re hop­ing that this part­ner­ship will help us find new re­spon­si­ble tourism suc­cess sto­ries, par­tic­u­larly from the lesser-rep­re­sented coun­tries. We look for­ward to hear­ing of ex­em­plary work­place prac­tices in Malawi or in­no­va­tion in en­ergy man­age­ment in Zim­babwe.”

The Re­gional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion of South­ern Africa (RETOSA) is a South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) body re­spon­si­ble for the tourism des­tina-

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