Cape Town – Conservation has become a prominent and important factor in global tourism, and the move to responsible and sustainable practices is long overdue.
But while legislation and planned shifts are admirable, the move to more sustainable tourism practices globally has been slow. This, mainly because it’s difficult to change an already-operational hotel or tourism establishment from the top down.
This is where South Africa and the whole African continent has an ironic advantage on sustainable tourism – tourism growth is behind that of first world countries with leading economies.
In Africa, for example, the hotel industry grew nearly 30% over the past year and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. With the high pressure and great rewards that come with going green, this means that new developments will be able to lay foundations for green hotels from the ground up, instead of having to adopt existing infrastructure to slot in with green practices.
It’s a concept that’s already gaining international recognition.
Hotel Verde in Cape Town serves as a prime example. This hotel opened in 2013 and was built on green-only principles. Within one year of existence, the hotel was already named a World leading establishment when became the very first hotel in the world to be awarded double platinum for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
But more and more African and South African establishments are being recognised for their sustainable achievement.
So much so that an incredible one-third of tourism organisations – 28 out of 75 – that have been longlisted for the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards can be found on the African continent. Of these, 11 establishments are South African.
The longlist was announced on #AfricaDay2016.