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2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards longlist revealed

The competition for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards has moved into the second round, with over 30 tourism organisations competing for top spots at the awards ceremony at WTM Africa in April.

Sponsored by WESGRO and organised by Better Tourism Africa, the awards recognise African organisations that offer a shining example of how tourism can benefit the local people, the environment, and destinations. The awards are part of a family of regional Responsible Tourism Awards which culminate each year with World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM in London. This year, the longlist names tourism organisations from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Longlisted organisations compete in seven categories, among them habitat and species conservation, engaging people and culture, poverty reduction and a new category in 2017 – the best responsible event.

“The quality of entries which have made it through to the longlist this year confirms the power of responsible tourism as a force for good in Africa. Each and every one of these organisations is playing an important role in championing responsible tourism. We’ve reviewed the information from the first round entry forms, and are excited about the possibilities,” says Heidi van der Watt, founder of the African awards and director of Better Tourism Africa. The longlisted organisations will now be rigorously questioned and their submissions reviewed by the judging team. Chair of Judges, Professor Harold Goodwin says:

“The field for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) is even stronger than previous years – and that takes some doing! Those longlisted have been invited to complete a detailed questionnaire, we’ll take up references and make some inquiries. On judging day we’ll identify those that demonstrate the difference that taking responsibility can make, and have the capacity to educate and inspire others to be more responsible.” The general public can also offer support or otherwise for longlisted organisations by emailing Based on all the evidence, the independent judging team, made up of industry experts, will debate the entries and select the shortlist and winners. The shortlist will be announced on 7 April 2017.

The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony that will be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The ceremony is part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa, which takes place from 19 to 21 April 2017. Carol Weaving, Managing Director for Reed Exhibitions, organiser of WTM Africa, says:

“WTM Africa is now firmly established on the African travel and tourism event calendar. Responsible Tourism is a cornerstone of WTM Africa and integral to the success of tourism on the continent. All stakeholders have a duty to ensure education, sustainability, and authenticity when promoting the unique experiences that Africa has to offer. We look forward to an exciting third edition of the African Responsible Tourism Awards, here in Cape Town at the CTICC at WTM Africa.”

The 2017 ARTA longlist

@BushCampsAfrica African Bush Camps
@African_Impact African Impact
@alloutafrica All Out Africa
@basecampexplore Basecamp Explorer
@Blood_Lions Blood Lions™
@bushfirefest Bushfire
@CoffeeShackBP Coffee Shack Backpackers
@WeAreWilderness Damaraland Camp & the Torra Conservancy
@porinisafaris Gamewatchers Safaris
@GreatPlainsCons Great Plains Conservation
@GreenGirlAfrica Green Girls in Africa
@ilhablue.islandsafaris Ilha Blue Island Safaris
@influencetours Influence Tours
@IsibindiAfrica Isibindi Africa Lodges
@Khayavolunteers Khaya Volunteer Projects
@KwandweReserve Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
@LEO.Africa LEO Africa
@MaasaiOlympic Maasai Olympics
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience Festival
Mashujaa Peace Walk
@PantheraAfrica Panthera Africa
@SaltyCrax_SAVE Save Foundation
@serenahotels Serena Hotels
@simiens.lodgeSimien Lodge
Sterkspruit Community Art Centre Tele Bridge Race
@Thanda_ Thanda Safari
@thebackpackcpt The Backpack
@WeAreWilderness Tour de Tuli
@TzaneenLodge Tzaneen Country Lodge
@LetsGoTravelKE Uniglobe Lets Go Travel
@UthandoSouthAfr Uthando
@WarriorOnWheels Warrior On Wheels Foundation
@WeAreWilderness Wilderness Safaris
@wildlifeact Wildlife ACT