Sunday, June 27, 2010

Responsible Tourism in South Africa

Responsible Tourism, one of those phrases often heard and thrown about, but seldom understood and effectively practiced in a South African context.
What is responsible tourism? The South African White Paper on Development and Promotion of Tourism describes responsible tourism as: "Tourism that promotes responsibility to the environment through its sustainable use; responsibility to involve local communities in the tourism industry; responsibility for the safety and security of visitors and responsible government, employees, employers, unions and local communities."

Just how important is "Responsible Tourism" in the South Africa context? A recent survey by the online travel newsletter, Travel News Now ran a pole asking: "Do your clients favour tourism products that practice responsible tourism?” The results, a staggering 69% responded YES!

However, a question that often gets asked is; “but tourists never ask us about responsible tourism when booking, so why do it?" the short and simple answer to this is that tourists expect tourism product owners to be operating in a responsible manner, if they do not experience this during their visit, they are unlikely to return or recommend your product to friends and family

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal recently produced a report on the state of Responsible Tourism, the concluding remarks say it all:

"This paper attempts to provide an overview of the accommodation industry’s understanding of and response to the desire for responsible travel on the part of tourists. By all accounts, South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal lag far behind many other countries in the world at this time. However, there are signs that some organizations, and even a few in the tourism arena, are beginning to become aware of the importance of responsible tourism practices, both in terms of conscience and in terms of economics. It simply makes monetary sense!"

Deloitte, the international consulting firm, published a report on the 7th of June about the top trends that will influence the hospitality industry in the coming years. The report focuses on 7 key trends among which is of course sustainability.

According the report: "Sustainability will become a defining issue for the industry in 2015 and beyond. Rising populations and increasingly scarce resources will provide a challenging business environment in which sustainability will need to be embedded within all facets of the hospitality industry."

Read more here:

It seems responsible tourism is here to stay and certainly not a passing fad!

To download the entire Tourism KZN report, please click here

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ETC-Africa appointed as NaturCert representatives for South Africa

ETC-Africa, a KwaZulu-Natal based environment and consultancy firm has been appointed as the South Africa representative for NaturCert, a global leader in environmental certification for the hospitality industry.

Akis Laopodis, Managing Director of NaturCert said: ''Following the successful expansion to the Americas and Asia, we are now adding a new key representation to our international presence for covering South Africa, a market of strategic importance to the global tourism industry.''

Consumer demand for sustainable and responsible tourism product is growing by the day, according to Greg Garden, marketing director for the Nedbank group, "Green is no longer just a first world affluent or educated consumer cause. Contrary to popular mythology, South Africans also see the importance of green issues. Green is moving in from the fringes and will become the central consumer issue of our time, which means we have entered the eco revolution"

The future of the South African hospitality industry will rely on our readiness to meet consumer demand for responsible product, according studies undertaken by the world ecotourism society, over 63% of British tourists they consider ethical and environmental issues when deciding on a destination for their holiday, while 90% of them agreed that consider active protection of the environment, including support of local communities, to be part of a hotel’s responsibility. So how does our tourism industry meet this consumer need and ensure that we are leaders in the global responsible tourism market? Certification schemes are widespread and common throughout Europe and the Americas yet still a relatively new concept in South Africa, especially internationally recognized certification. This is where NaturCert's offerings can make a difference. NaturCert is a global leader in green & sustainability certification for the hospitality industry. NaturCert develops sustainability criteria and programs recognizing green & sustainable travel & tourism organizations. NaturCert operates through the international network of NaturCert Representative Offices and subsidiaries. Further to that, NaturCert introduces international and local initiatives promoting sustainability and environmentally responsible as well as corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

Duncan Pritchard from ETC-Africa says; "With the growing awareness around sustainable tourism in South Africa and the need for internationally recognized certification, we are proud to be associated with NaturCert and see this as a wonderful opportunity to launch South Africa's responsible tourism industry into the global arena."

Click here to subscribe to the NaturCert Newsletter

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Zululand Heritage Route (Route 66)

ETC-Africa has recently been appointed as project managers for the Zululand Heritage Route.

The route is a project spearheaded by uThungulu District Municipality's Tourism Section and includes a wide variety of partners including local government, traditional authorities and the private sectors.

Route 66 is a cross-border project and includes areas of the Zululand District Municipality. Starting from the uThungulu District Municipality, the R66 moves from an area of high activity of the N2, Gingindlovu intersection to areas further inland where the levels decrease as one approaches Ulundi and beyond. uMlalazi, and especially Eshowe, is well catered for in terms of tourism attractions and facilities. Mthonjaneni, on the other hand, has fewer attractions, but together with uMlalazi, houses the projects identified as key catalytic projects, such as Lake Phobane on route to Ulundi.

Sites that fall within this ambit of the R66 are as follows: Shakaland, Phobane Lake, John Dunn Hunters Bush and Beach Trail, Signal Hill, KwaMondi Mission, Entumeni Nature Reserve, Dlinza Forest Nature Reserve an aerial boardwalk, Rutledge Park and Eshlazi Dam, Mpushini Falls, Ongoye Forest Reserve, Cowards Bush, Eshowe Goal, Eshowe Residency, Fort Eshowe, King Cetshwayo’s Memorial, Martyrs Cross, Fort Sr. Nonquai, Vukani Museum, Bishops Seat, Cetshwayo’s memorial, Court House, Gqikazi, KwaBulawayo, Mandawe Cross, The British Military Cemetery.

The primary objectives of the project is to define and package cultural tourism resources; contribute significantly to the branding of uThungulu as a Zulu Cultural and heritage destination; increase tourism revenue yield in rural areas lacking formal economic opportunities; provide the opportunity for previously disadvantaged individuals and groups in the ownership and operation of tourism operations.

This is a very exciting project for ETC-Africa and builds on our experience and skills in the realm of community based tourism and tourism routes.

Stakeholders are encouraged to contact us and play an active role in the planning and implementation of the route. A full project roll out plan can be found by clicking here.