Resilience in West Africa

The Gambia in West Africa closed it borders for nearly a year to keep Covid out. Adama Bah discusses how the people fared. It is clear that with remittances from the Gambian diaspora amounting to nearly 60% of GDP during the Covid lockdowns and a strong sense of responsibility for the welfare of all within the family The Gambia has proved very resilient. Tourism is 20% of the economy in normal times, closing their borders to fend off Covid cost the country dear. The Gambia survived and recovered from the coup and travel bans in 1994, Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and most recently Covid.

13% of the population are now fully vaccinated and they have not yet passed 365 deaths. The Gambia has reopened for tourism with 30% occupancy. But most of those coming are repeat visitors which means that they do not spend much on craft

The Gambia is a culturally and socially rich country despite the low level of income per head. Resilience in The Gambia is based on the closely knit family and the extended family system. Everyone is their others brothers’ and sisters’ keeper and that obligation continues with the diaspora, the emigres are expected to contribute to their immediate and extended family.

As the African proverb goes it takes a whole village to bring up a child

At WTM Africa we are discussing how to make tourism businesses and destinations more resilient.

Tuesday 12th April 15:45-16:15 Investment for Responsible Tourism & Resilience

Development banks, commercial banks and private investors all have a role to play in financing tourism. Hermione Nevill, from the International Finance Corporation, will take a destination-lens to explore some of the financing mechanisms in play, and how they are changing in the context of recovery in Africa. There will be a presentation about what the IFC is doing and an opportunity for Q&A.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group

Tuesday 12th April 16:15-17:00 We need to Increase Our Resilience

The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of our industry to travel bans and fear. Cape Town was not the first destination to suffer from severe drought and a large reduction in arrivals – and it will not be the last. What can businesses and destinations do to increase their resilience? What can you do? What do you need to do?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Lee-Anne Bac, Director, Strategic Development and Advisory

Simon Blackburn Sustainability Director, African Safari Collective

Gareth Morgan, Acting Executive Director: Future Planning and Resilience City of Cape Town |

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group

It is time to focus on yield and attract direct bookings

The pandemic has catalysed an increase in direct bookings, SiteMinder’s senior director of global demand partnerships, James Bishop said reflecting on 2020  “With international travel restrictions in place and rising cases of coronavirus around the world, many consumers were drawn to local hotel accommodations where the direct hotel website has always performed well, or through local booking channels, which, after an initial slump, saw an uptick from pent-up travel demand.

As Sarah explains in this free seminar Apple, Facebook and Google are putting more emphasis on customer privacy, relying on third party cookies is unwise and that it is time to begin to build a marketing strategy that does not rely on them.

How does this all relate to the Responsible Tourism agenda?
“Direct bookings reduce your breakeven point because they eliminate intermediary commissions that eat into profits, but they also allow for healthier local development because those extra commission dollars that would have been paid to a distant Online Travel Agencies (OTA), now enter the local economy as your purchasing power is stimulated, and that, in turn, means that more local people get a little piece of the pie.”

You can find Sarah’s advice about how to raise your profile on Google here.

Sarah argues that we need to work with the OTAs but also to build direct bookings and capitalise on repeats and referrals.

Sarah Habsburg, is Founder of The School for Responsible Tourism

Why Responsible Tourism matters

At WTM Africa in April we are reflecting on progress since 2002 when the Cape Declaration launched the Responsible Tourism movement. 20 years on we are reflecting on progress and looking to the future. Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit, in that order

Derek Hanekom, then Minister of Tourism, South Africa, spoke with passion about why Responsible Tourism matters at WTM London in 2018. He pointed out sustainability really matters to the future of our industry and spoke about the importance of spreading the Responsible Tourism message, pointing to the challenges of pollution – greenhouse gas emissions and waste – and overtourism.

He speaks with passion about the importance of decarbonisation and the urgency of achieving it. Our industry must play our part in changing behaviour, we are both a contributor to and victim of climate change.

More and more tourists are demanding that our industry address these issues. If host communities feel that they are being used by tourists and that they are not benefitting in their neighbourhoods they turn against our industry. Younger tourists and seasoned travellers alike do not want to be viewed as unwelcome visitors, they want to fell connected and welcome to participate as locals making a positive difference.

As Derek points out SA was the first country to include Responsible Tourism in its national policy in 1996 – maximising economic social and environmental benefits and minimising negative impacts. South Africa has been a pioneer but there is still much to be done we should not be satisfied until Responsible Tourism becomes to norm across our industry As Derek pointed out back in 2018 the water crisis in the Cape  became a national problem for the tourism industry – in the Cape the “save like a local” campaign had a real impact on behaviour.  We have to learn from each other about resilience and how to deal with crisis.

Derek concludes “We need more; it has to be everyone, we will not sustain our industry or this planet it is all about our survival let us be the industry that leads the world toward sustainable practises – if we can do this we can assure that there is a world where people can enjoy and benefit from fulfilling tourism experiences”  It is us who have to be the change agents…

Responsible Tourism at WTM Africa in April 2022

Monday 11th

13:30 – 14:15 Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism

The tourism industry - travel, hospitality and attractions - has developed a bewildering range of tech solutions to reduce carbon emissions, water consumption, food waste and plastics. New technology alone will not achieve the change we need to see in our industry, we need to encourage behavioural change amongst our staff and our clients. For this panel, we have chosen experienced experts who can look behind the brochures and the sales pitch to share what they have learnt about what works, what doesn't and why?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Angus Spurr  GM Park Inn Cape Town 

Tracy Schaffer, Sustainability Officer for the Cullinan Group

Chris Van Zyl, Group Environmental Manager  The Vineyard

Hugo Vermeulen Solarus

15:30 – 17:00 The 2022 Africa Responsible Tourism  Awards

Tuesday 12th 

10:30-11:15 Twenty years of Responsible Tourism in South Africa

The Responsible Tourism movement was founded twenty years ago in Cape Town and has grown to have influence around the world as more and more businesses and destinations have taken responsibility to use tourism to make better places for people to live in and to visit. It has not been easy. This panel will reflect on the progress that has been made since the publication of the White Paper in 1996 and consider the challenges faced. Looking to the future, we shall discuss the current priorities and how progress might be made more quickly.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Derek Hanekom, former Minister of Tourism, South Africa - he made a passionate and memorable speech about Responsible Tourism at WTM London in 2018. 

Sean Ingles, General & Commercial Manager at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Dr Theuns Vivian Head: Destination Development & Economic Growth, Cape Town

11:15-12:00 Progress in Responsible Tourism Around the World

The Cape Town Declaration founded a movement that has spread around the world. An opportunity to look at some of the Responsible Tourism initiatives that have developed in Africa and around the world and to reflect on whether there are ideas that could be developed for your business or destination. Given the range of challenges – climate change, biodiversity loss, inclusion – that we face, we need to make progress faster. The Platform for Change is designed to enable 'tried and tested' and promising new ideas to be shared. You may wish to contribute Responsible Tourism practices to the Platform or use it to find ways of tackling the sustainability issues which concern you and the communities you work in and with.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Emilie Hagedorn Green Heart Tourism

Lisa Scriven, Utopia Africa

12:00- 12:30 Mike Fabricius & Harold Goodwin co-chairs of the Cape Town Declaration Conference reflect on how it came about and what resulted from it

In 2002 Mike was CEO of the Western Cape Tourism Board and with Harold Goodwin co-chaired the first international conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations which launched the Cape Town Declaration the found document of the Responsible Tourism movement. Mike went on to establish. The Journey, is an independent tourism advisory and consultancy practice undertaking destination development in Africa, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and the Fear East. Mike and Harold will reflect on the progress made over the last twenty years in South Africa and around the world,  barriers to change and reflect on the future.

Mike Fabricius The Journey & Co-Chair Cape Town Conference on RT in Destinations, 2002

Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor & Co-Chair Cape Town Conference on RT in Destinations, 2002

12:45-13:30 V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront won the "Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic" category in last year's WTM Global Tourism Awards. This panel is an opportunity to hear from them and ask them why Responsible Tourism matters to them, about why it makes business sense, and about their environmental and socio-economic initiatives.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

David Green – CEO, V&A Waterfront

Henry Matthys - Snr Man. Social Impact & Food Ecosystem Head

Andry Theys – Executive Manager: Operations

13:30-14:15 Local Economic Development, Creating Shared Value

The concept of shared value emerges from the writing of Harvard Professor Michael E. Porter, well-known for his previous work on competition strategy, value chains and cluster theory. Porter defines shared value as "policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the social and economic conditions in the communities in which it operates". In this panel, we shall explore some African examples of this approach to growing your business, benefitting neighbouring communities and increasing the value of tourism to the destination.

Moderator Gillian Saunders, Tourism and Hospitality Adviser

Ruth Crichton Marketing & PR, Sustainability, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Glynn O'Leary CEO & Founder Transfrontier Parks Destinations

Evie Ndhlovu, Program Manager EMEA at Planeterra

14:30 -15:00 Tourism and Wildlife Conservation working with the African Leadership University

The School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) has been created as part of the African Leadership University to develop passionate people who can address the current failings of the wildlife conservation sector across much of the African continent. "We need to create a new cohort of exceptionally bright and passionate people who understand why conservation is important, who can think innovatively to create value from natural resources whilst building Africa’s natural capital, and who understand how business thinking can in fact contribute to long term sustainability and the transformation of conservation into a pillar of economic growth. We must provide these people with mentored “real life” opportunities to lead and learn by creating large networks of support and opportunity. In short, we must make conservation relevant and attractive in the context of modern Africa. Richard will make a presentation followed by a Q&A 

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Richard Vigne Executive Director at the School of Wildlife Conservation, African leadership University

15:00-15:45 Tackling Climate Change

The latest IPCC report, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, is about risk, the risk to us, all of us, which results from the burning of fossil fuels and the consequent accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. The IPPC reports that the consequences of climate change are now baked in. With “very high confidence” they assert that “Near-term  actions that limit global warming to close to 1.5°C would substantially reduce projected losses and damages related to climate change in human systems and ecosystems, compared to higher warming levels, but cannot eliminate them all.” Our industry contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through aviation and ground transport and heating, cooling and lighting accommodation. What can we do to reduce our emissions? On current trends sea-level rise, extreme weather events and wildfires are expected. How can we adapt to these challenges?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Goosain Isaacs Director. Climate Change, Western Cape Government

Karien Erasmus, a Senior Manager Risk Advisory Services  at BDO, and part of the first phase of the  Tourism Sector Risk and Climate Change study for the SA National Department of Tourism

Michael Tollman, CEO of Cullinan Holdings

Chris Van Zyl, Group Environmental Manager  The Vineyard

15:45-16:15 Investment for Responsible Tourism & Resilience

Development banks, commercial banks and private investors all have a role to play in financing tourism. Hermione Nevill, from the International Finance Corporation, will take a destination-lens to explore some of the financing mechanisms in play, and how they are changing in the context of recovery in Africa. There will be a presentation about what the IFC is doing and an opportunity for Q&A.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group

16:15-17:00 We need to Increase Our Resilience

The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of our industry to travel bans and fear. Cape Town was not the first destination to suffer from severe drought and a large reduction in arrivals – and it will not be the last. What can businesses and destinations do to increase their resilience? What can you do? What do you need to do?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Lee-Anne Bac, Director, Strategic Development and Advisory

Simon Blackburn Sustainability Director, African Safari Collective

Gareth Morgan, Acting Executive Director: Future Planning and Resilience City of Cape Town |

Hermione Nevill,  Senior Tourism Specialist at World Bank Group

Rashid Toefy, Deputy Director-General: Economic Operations, Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and Co-chairperson for the Cape Town Air Access project.

17:00 – 17:45  How can the travel and tourism industry contribute more to conservation and nature recovery?

As the world wakes up to the urgency of the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises and attention turns to the business community's response, how much more can and should the travel and tourism sector be doing to counter biodiversity loss?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

Colin Bell, co-founder of Wilderness Safaris, Great Plains and Natural Selection Safaris

Wilfred Chivell, CEO: Marine Dynamics, Founder: Dyer Island Conservation Trust / African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary

Michael Lutzeyer, Founder & Visionary, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Roland Vorwerk African Nature-based Tourism Platform

Leaders in Responsible Tourism

At WTM London in November last year the V&A Waterfront was honoured when they won the WTM Global Responsible Tourism Award in the Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic category

Hear what it means for a business to be recognised in the World Responsible Tourism Awards

2021 GLOBAL AWARD: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.   AFRICA

www.waterfront.co.za/ www.makerslanding.co.za/ www.ladlesoflove.org.za/ www.justicedesk.org/

The V&A Waterfront demonstrates what can be achieved by a large scale destination business that is determined to work at using its scale and dominance to benefit those otherwise excluded and marginalised

The V&A Waterfront is a mixed-use destination on the harbour in Cape Town, "a platform that facilitates and champions art and design, to support entrepreneurship and innovation, lead the charge on sustainability and drive positive social and economic change." It has continued to grow employment at 3.7% annually through the pandemic. In December 2020, as cases soared, they launched Makers Landing, a food community that celebrates South Africa's diverse cultures through food.   There is a shared incubator kitchen, a demo kitchen, eight maker production stations, a food market with approximately 35 flexible market stands, eight small co-op eateries and five anchor restaurants of various sizes. The focus is on early-stage entrepreneurs (start-up, aspirant and grassroots) with limited access to resources in the packaged foods, food service and catering industries. In addition to 17 small anchor businesses, 84 new jobs and eight new businesses have been created, 70% black-owned, 33% women lead.  They maintained mentorship and coaching programmes, provided grants (R591,000) and food parcels R1.3m) and continued to fund Justice Desk in Nyanga Township.   To support job retention in the SMMEs, they raised working capital to support 49 businesses, totalling R2.52 million, supporting 208 permanent and 111 temporary jobs and provided access to cash flow analysis and support and R20 million rental relief to their 270 tenants. From their urban garden, they have provided Ladies of Love, an inner-city food program that provides meals to destitute people, just under 6 tons of vegetables, from which 130 000 meals were served in 12 kitchens in two years. The V&A Waterfront might be expected to have a significant impact; it does. The judges were particularly impressed by their innovative approach and dogged determination to continue to grow opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalised communities.

At WTM Africa on Tuesday 12th they will be talking about what they are doing and why they take responsibility for making tourism better

12:45-13:30 V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront won the "Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic" category in last year's WTM Global Tourism Awards. This panel is an opportunity to hear from them and ask them why Responsible Tourism matters to them, about why it makes business sense, and about their environmental and socio-economic initiatives.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor

David Green – CEO, V&A Waterfront

Henry Matthys - Snr Man. Social Impact & Food Ecosystem Head

Andry Theys – Executive Manager: Operations

This year’s WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Awards are being presented at WTM Africa

Monday 11th 15:30 – 17:00
The 2022 Africa Responsible Tourism  Awards Global Stage at WTM Africa

Showcasing Best Practice in the Industry
A highlight on the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism calendar, these awards champion the very best work in Responsible Tourism on the African continent. Join us as we celebrate those - sustainability champions, changemakers, movers and shakers - who continue to make a positive impact and lead by example.

The awards aim to “discover, recognise and promote good practice”. These prestigious awards recognise businesses and destinations that make responsible tourism their focus to ensure they are discovered and celebrated, showing how they are cultivating change and pioneering creative projects that revolve around the wellbeing and sustainability of tourism and looking after the people and the landscapes that allow the industry to thrive.

Finalists

Come along to congratulate those being recognised