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."
To download the entire Tourism KZN report, please click here