Picture: Clinton Moodley

There are over 70 places in South Africa that have now adopted sustainable tourism, and many more have applied for their certificates.

According to the business development manager of Sustainable Tourism, Thiofhi Ravele, more business owners adhered to sustainable practices that have helped communities, its environment and boosted employee satisfaction.

“In order for them to be approved, applicants needed to adhere to certain criteria. There will be a few more approvals next year and we are edging towards other businesses to adopt the same practices,” said Ravele.

Practising responsible tourism in Limpopo is the Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge, which is big on corporate social initiatives.

It has a keen interest in training and developing crafters, and this has contributed R1 million towards the arts and craft market in the area.

In Gauteng, Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, one of the first black-owned backpackers in the country, has contributed significantly to economic development through their low-crate markets and newly established Makhelwane Festival that allows locals to sell their goods and expose small businesses.

In Rosebank, The Peech Hotel strives towards empowering its workers, and is big on the usage of responsible material and biodegradable products.

The hotel also supports local entrepreneurs.

Accommodation venues in KwaZulu-Natal have also adopted responsible tourism practices, including the Three Trees Lodge which encompasses a rural setting. It employs workers from the community who they train and educate for employment.

The lodge also works closely with the local chief on projects that are beneficial for the community.

Finally, in Cape Town, local tour service Uthando Tours is a non-profit organisation whose key focus is boosting local trade. It operates in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Langa, where local crafts and businesses thrive.

Their tours are centred around bringing visitors to these areas to showcase its culture through township tours and visits to local business.

“Better places for people to live in, better places to visit; that’s the heart of the Responsible Tourism initiative. Beautiful destinations across the globe have realised that the attractions that draw visitors must be developed and curated with care, and that the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of a destination is closely-linked to its success and viability,” concluded Enver Duminy, chief executive of Cape Town Tourism.