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TOURISM: Cape Town A Leading Responsible Destination


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The City of Cape Town’s Economic, Social Development and Tourism Portfolio Committee has adopted a Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan, a first in South Africa, that will enhance Cape Town’s positioning as a leading tourism destination.

Mansoor Mohamed, the City’s Executive Director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, said: “Responsible Tourism makes sound business sense. A significant, and growing, number of tourists are looking for a “different” experience and a higher quality product. They want to get closer to the people in the country they visit and experience its real natural and cultural heritage. This is a global trend as consumer’s expectations of their holidays change. Cape Town has recently won leading awards, including Africa’s Leading Destination Award two years in a row, and this can to some extent be attributed to the efforts already made in making Cape Town a leading responsible tourism destination.”

Responsible Tourism is an approach to the management of tourism, aimed at maximizing economic, social and environmental benefits and minimizing costs to destinations. It helps to create better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. Responsible Tourism aims to achieve the triple bottom line of economic growth, environmental integrity and social justice.

Alderman Felicity Purchase, the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “The broad objectives of the policy are to bring together the diverse Responsible Tourism initiatives in the destination into a coordinated and results- based campaign, create awareness and produce credible and verifiable information. The City of Cape Town is very pleased with the contributions received from all stakeholders.”

Councillor Pat Hill, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, said: “The City is one step closer to making Cape Town a green lung and towards becoming a truly responsible destination. I would like to extend my thanks to all the staff in the City and all the stakeholders for helping to develop the Responsible Tourism Policy (RTP) and Action Plan.”

The RTP establishes the basis for economically sustainable tourism that contributes to poverty alleviation and economic empowerment; social and cultural sustainable tourism that enhances and protects the value of the local lifestyles and heritage; and for environmentally sustainable tourism including minimizing of resource consumption and conservation of natural resources.

The policy allows the City to utilize the six levers for change that are within its powers, namely, planning, regulation, use of Council immovable property, financial contributions, procurement and performance management. This recognizes the multi-department approach which the City has to take towards responsible tourism.

During the consultative process of developing the policy, the industry and local government agreed on a Responsible Tourism Campaign. It is a two year action plan that will direct the activities of the City’s Tourism Department and the tourism sector, focusing on identified priority issues. These are linked to the three pillars of Responsible Tourism - environment, economic and social.

The priority issues are:

- Environment: water, energy and solid waste focusing on plastic water bottles

- Economic: procurement, local and preferential and enterprise development

- Social: skills and social development

A responsible tourism barometer will be utilised to record contributions and record performance against selected indicators. This will set Cape Town apart from other destinations that measure performance at an enterprise level only.

With September being Tourism Month, the campaign will be launched with the signing of a Responsible Tourism Charter for Cape Town by the City and the major tourism sector organisations and then with the other stakeholders, namely City- funded tourism organizations, individual tourism enterprises and education institutions. The Charter can be used in marketing material as has been done in other parts of the world. Each signatory will then develop a corporate responsible tourism improvement plan.

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