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SA launches new green energy standard label

Cape Town – The department of energy has unveiled a new green standard label, as a means for consumers to recognise clean energy measures, as the 16th annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference kicks off at the Cape Town Convention Centre.

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South Africa has just officially signed the Paris Climate Change agreement and a number of key state departments are involved in ensuring the country meets its 2020 objects, with clean energy also forming an integral part of SA’s 9 point-plan for the national economic turnaround as outlined by President Jacob Zuma during the 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

As a result the Department of Energy (DoE) in collaboration with the Departments of Public Works (DPW);Trade and Industry (the dti), are collaborating on a planned energy efficiency programme – of which the new South African Energy Efficiency Label and the Building Energy Savings Campaign Identity form a part.

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The aim is to encourage all South Africans to use energy efficiently, including purchasing energy efficient household appliances, says the department.

“We believe that a nation knowledgeable of the benefits of energy efficiency and the dedicated activation of the appropriate behaviour by all of us will ensure that the country achieves its set energy efficiency objectives,”the DoE says.

“Energy Efficiency Building Regulations as promulgated by government in 2012 have already laid the ground for the regulatory framework by stipulating the requirements for energy usage in buildings and setting the minimum standards for energy efficiency within which all new buildings and major renovations in South Africa are required to comply.”

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom also recently outlined the departments of tourism’s positive prospects for the SA Tourism sector to go Green in 2016.   Six of South Africa’s iconic tourism attractions will be equipped with solar powered energy sources. Recognising the environmental and cost benefits of moving towards renewable energy, the tourism department says it is supporting major destinations to install renewable energy sources as part of the Tourism Incentive Program.

The DoE says the Energy Efficiency Label will further guide and impact positively in changing behaviour towards energy efficiency measures and compel citizens to individually take the lead in whatever platforms they find themselves in.

While no specific responsible tourism or green criteria are currently in place, Tourism Grading Council of South Africa Chief Quality Assurance Office Darryl Erasmus told Traveller24 at Indaba 2016 that these factors are being considered in accordance with other partnerships as the council prepares to upgrade its criteria, after what it describes as rigorous consultation with industry (it was last upgraded in 2012).

The DoE says appliances such as air conditioners, washing machines, electric ovens, refrigerators, electric geysers, audio and video equipment, dish washers and electric lamps will now have energy efficiency labels which have been designed to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.

Having industry wide responsible measures or criteria in place across the tourism accommodation sector would also go a long way into achieving South Africa’s energy efficiency and clean energy targets, as Responsible Tourism becomes a fierce factor across the board.

At World Travel Market Africa in April, Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa also advocated that Responsible Tourism needed to be ingrained more strongly within the industry beyond just surface engagement, as she encouraged retrofitting tourism attractions and accommodation for energy and water efficiency, as well as universal accessibility.

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Africans Urged to Support Tourism

Durban — It was a fusion of originality and creativity complemented by global marketing skills from across the world to showcase their tourism attractions or destinations at the just ended Indaba 2016, Africa’s largest tourism trade show.

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The top African trade show – which was held from May 7 to 9 – at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC), exploded with originality and creativity of the Africa’s wealth of cultural appeal, tourism natural attractions, services and products.

In the media talk facilitated by the CNN New York based news anchor Richard Quest, African tourism ministers acknowledged the need to consult and engage one another to work on the bulk of issues which hinder tourism penetration.

African ministers led by Hanekom added a strong voice on how Africa countries can come together to position themselves as tourism business collaborators and promote inbound tourism in which huge opportunities have largely not been exploited.

“If one quarter of African countries were to implement the open skies for Africa decision and facilitate great air connectivity between our countries – additional jobs (job creation) and an added GDP that could be generated with obvious numerous benefits for tourism in many countries, said Derek Hanekom, South African’s tourism minister.

Hanekom said that many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. However, once visitors reach this continent they encounter difficulties in connectivity as well as exorbitant air fares from country to country. He said that air transport services in Africa remained a critical constraint.

Hanekom, who was one of the three panelist’ tourism experts who attended the media talk including ministers from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles, Swaziland, Burkina Faso and Ghana. “Africa’s is a continent of unparalleled opportunity, and tourism is where the greatest untapped opportunity lies”, he said..

In addition, the minister said: “Africa is a vibrant melting pot for tourism: the diverse cultures, customs and traditions of our people, merged with the endless variety of our landscapes, blended with unique biodiversity, tempered by our historical legacy, and fired by the spirit of freedom and equality”.

The opening of the Indaba 2016 was addressed by minister Derek Hanekom , the Mayor of Durban, Mr James Nxumalo, and the MEC for KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu.

The South African government, according to the minister, has earmarked the sector as a growth industry of national priority because of its potential to bring about economic growth and create employment.

During his opening address the Minister stated that by standing together the public and private sectors in the industry would be stronger and able to contribute to the upliftment of the nation. He spoke about INDABA and how it has evolved into Africa’s largest and most successful tourism trade show that creates a platform to showcase the best of the African tourism products and services.

However, he noted that if we are to be successful, everyone needs to pay more attention to the image and reputation of Africa. “Not only through effective marketing, but by putting on a really great show when tourists arrive. Their word of mouth will do our marketing for us and using social media begins the minute they arrive on our shores.”

The Minister adds that the Indaba provides the ideal platform for African countries to work together. “A successful Indaba contributes to the success of tourism in all our countries.”

Tourism is a key contributor to our economy as well as job creation, says MEC Mabuyakhulu .It is critical for the African continent to develop policies that are integrated to reflect positively on what the continent can offer together. Diverse products that define Africa should be tailor made to suit tourists to visit many African countries and not just one. Intra African trade needs to be a key focus in this regard”.

Durban is honoured and privileged to host the Continent’s biggest tourism event in Africa says Mayor Nxumalo.

He added that one of the City’s key focuses, in line with Indaba, is on SMMEs and therefore it has put in place various initiatives around these enterprises.

INDABA hosted nearly 14,000 business meetings, about 1050 exhibitors, 1856 buyers and 724 media. Owned by South African Tourism, INDABA is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and services. The event attracts quality buyers from across South Africa, the African continent and the world.

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Africa and Japan enjoying tourism resurgence

While terrorism in Europe and Zika in the Americas pose hurdles to tourism in those destinations, this year is turning out to be a resurgent one for Africa and Japan, which had faced their own challenge and visitor downturns in recent years.

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“People like to travel, they want to travel. And they’re going to travel where they feel safe,” Abercrombie & Kent CEO Geoffrey Kent told Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit last month. “Europe, Paris and Brussels, we’re obviously feeling an impact there. However, Africa has now become safe. Before, over a year ago, it was Ebola and everyone said Africa is unsafe. So yes, now we’re finding a big influx into all of Africa.”

The deadly Ebola outbreak in western Africa in 2014 completely crippled the continent’s tourism flow, with the effects still being felt well into 2015, operators reported. But now they are confident that Africa is poised for recovery.

According to G Adventures vice president for product innovation Jeff Russill, “2016 has so far been a solid rebound year [for Africa], and together with the weak South Africa rand, sales for travel to southern Africa are doing particularly well for us.”

Russill noted that bookings for southern Africa are up between 35% and 40% compared to the same time last year and east Africa is also up 10% from last year.

“With a generally stable political climate and good value for money, we hope to see this increase even further,” Russill said.

Africa being back in vogue comes as the Caribbean, and South and Central America, have faced a bit of a setback this year due to media coverage of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

“Everybody’s numbers are off for Brazil,” said Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, adding that the negative press Brazil has been getting about the Olympics, its political situation and now Zika has made the destination a hard sell.

However, Sanghrajka said that Africa is not necessarily picking up travelers who have diverted their plans due to Zika or because of the recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, but rather due to pent-up demand.

“We started seeing a bounce up even before Zika, even before Brussels, even before what happened in Paris,” he said. “I don’t know that the uptick in Africa is based on Zika. I think it’s more people who have been wanting to go. It is people who are genuinely interested in Africa. For the last two years, people have been traveling to destinations that were their Plan B.”

Another destination that travelers had been putting off for a few years, Japan, is seeing renewed interest.

Japan tourism has “recovered dramatically” following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, surging by 47%, Ryoichi Matsuyama, president of the Japan National Tourism Organization, said during the Global Summit.

Inbound tourism to Japan had plummeted by 62% following the tsunami, which claimed more than 15,000 lives.

Matsuyama reported that in 2015 Japan welcomed 19.7 million visitors, compared with just over 8 million visitors in 2010, the year before the tsunami, marking the first time in 45 years that more inbound visitors went to Japan than Japanese travelers left.

Avanti Destinations, an FIT tour operator, added Asia to its product mix last year. According to Avanti president Harry Dalgaard, its Japan bookings have been exceptionally strong since then.

“In fact, Japan is the leading destination of the seven countries we now sell in Asia,” said Dalgaard.

G Adventures’ Russill said the company saw its sales to Japan climb 25% in 2016 compared to this time last year. The company’s other highest growth destinations thus far for 2016 include Central Asia (specifically Iran and the Central Asian nations Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), Colombia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cuba sailings.

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College paves way for tourism career

A lack of money should be no barrier to young Northlanders wanting to study at a new tourism and hospitality college in Paihia, its chief executive says.

QRC Tai Tokerau Resort College was opened last week with an initial intake of 19 students, all but one of whom are young Maori from Northland. Up to 50 more students will be accepted this year. Eventually the roll could grow to 350.

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The college, based on Selwyn Rd in central Paihia, is a satellite campus of Queenstown Resort College but with some crucial differences.

QRC chief executive Charlie Phillips said students who qualified for a study grant, as determined by a means test, would pay about $3500 a year in fees. By contrast Queenstown students paid $13,000.

The course was residential with accommodation and three meals a day included. An accommodation allowance covered most of those costs. Students who could not afford the $80 per week shortfall could apply to the Northland Youth Education Trust.

Although set up by the college, the trust’s decisions were independent.

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The course was structured so that students studied for six months, completed a paid internship for nine months, then did another six months study. Even at minimum wage students should be able to earn $15,000 on internship to pay off their student loans. “So there should be no financial barrier to attending the college,” Mr Phillips said.

Students had to wear a uniform from day one and meet high standards of grooming, attendance and punctuality. That meant they could hit the ground running once they started work, he said.

The course also had a strong focus on pastoral care with a “super coach” responsible for organising after-school activities such as sport, music and kapa haka. The impetus for the college came from New Zealand Maori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan who saw it as a way of getting young Maori employed in the tourism industry.

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Ethiopian Airlines to Begin Regular Flights to Hawassa

Hawassa becomes the 20th domestic destination for Ethiopian Airlines, which has announced that it will begin four weekly flights from April 16, 2016.

Ethiopian’s Q-400 aircraft will make the 40 minute flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Airline has pledged to offer international standard services for domestic travellers at the lowest possible cost. This will not only boost the region’s growing investment and tourism industry but will enhance the socio-economic relations of the state with others. Domestic and international travellers will be able to easily make flight transfers to and from Hawassa.

The city is the capital of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples State and is one of the best tourist destinations in Ethiopia. Its attractions include one of the seven lakes of the Great Rift Valley as well as its diverse cultures and languages.

Hawassa’s 457 million Br Airport is yet to be inaugurated officially in the same week that Ethiopian Airlines will make its maiden flight to that destination.

Opening this route is part of the Airline’s Vision 2025 which includes the establishment of Ethiopian Express as a strategic business unit for the delivery of essential air connectivity. The new service is expected to attract the business community, public sector personnel, university students and lecturers as well as tourists.

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South Africa: North West Government On Construction of New Infrastructure

New infrastructure for Taung Hotel School and Convention Centre now underway

The much anticipated construction of new Hotel School facilities is officially underway, this was evident when the principal agents and architects Botaki & Associates (PTY) LTD recently handed over various construction sites to various contractors to begin setting up shop for the seventy (70) million rand project to officially commence at the Taung Hotel School and Convention Centre in Taung.

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Setting the tone during the construction sites hand over briefing session with all relevant parties involved, Head of North West Department of Tourism, Adv. Neo Sephoti emphasized to contractors that no shoddy work will be accepted and that the provincial government expects a quality infrastructure which will still be standing and in good condition for years to come.

“These are public funds and as a department and the people of this province, we will not compromise on quality. We will insist on regular quality checks because if anything does not meet the required quality standards it will impact on us as a government not the contractors”, Adv. Sephoti said.

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#WTMAfrica: Responsible Tourism winners announced

Cape Town – The African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 took place on Thursday at the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town.

The winners were announced at a ceremony attended by SA’s influential travel bloggers, industry experts and Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom.

Tim Harris, chief executive officer of awards sponsor Wesgro said: “We are pleased to recognise the vision of the Award winners for providing leadership in their respective sectors throughout Africa, and effectively contributing to growing tourism in a sustainable manner. Today, we celebrate their commitment and achievements.”

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The overall winner was Mara Naboisho Conservancy. The judges’ reasons for winning: “Prior to setting up Naboisho Conservancy, four years of consultation with the 554 landowners lead to 94 percent of them signing over their land to a holding company with their own appointed directors who have in turn entered into a management agreement with Naboisho Conservancy.

“The community gets direct and tangible benefits from wildlife conservation; no other activity provides as much income to as many people as Naboisho Conservancy,” according to an article on bizcommunity.com.

South Africa’s own Bushman’s Kloof won overall for Best Contribution to Cultural Heritage Conservation – supported by Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme.

Click here for a full list of winners.

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Minor Hotel Group cements green credentials by implementing Green Growth 2050 standards

Minor Hotel Group (MHG) has moved to cement itself as one of the global leaders in sustainable tourism by implementing the Green Growth 2050 (GG2050) sustainability solution.

MHG has committed its 35 resorts and hotels under the Anantara brand to the Green Growth 2050 program, launched in 2015, with many already undergoing certification. A further 35 hotels under different MHG brands are currently implementing the Performance Measurement solution planned for live operation later in 2016.

“In identifying a sustainability partner for the Hotel Group, Minor was looking for a solution that could take our hotels to the next level. A program with the potential to operate across our entire portfolio”, said John Roberts, MHG Director of Conservation Efforts.

“We found Green Growth 2050 was the only solution that brought together a GSTC recognized Certification Standard, aligned with international conventions including the UN Global Compact, with true measurement of our sustainability initiatives across over 200 GRI and tourism based metrics. The ability to measure and manage performance across all our hotels in the one place, standardizing the group wide recording, was crucial to our decision in moving to Green Growth 2050,” said Mr. Roberts.

Green Growth 2050 CEO, Wayne McKinnon, said: “MHG has one of the most impressive hotel portfolios in the industry combining luxury properties with outstanding service. It is a privilege to have many of them as our current members.”

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“When we developed the sustainability framework for GG2050 we wanted to provide a solution designed to take leading organizations like MHG beyond the one-dimensional legacy certification systems currently being used and provide a true cloud-based solution that brought together certification, performance measurement and online learning overlaid with full business intelligence and analytics.”

“Minor’s sustainability performance can be managed across their entire portfolio and segmented by business type, city, region, brand, or any defined grouping. They can compare the performance of their Asian hotels against their Middle Eastern hotels or owned hotels against managed hotels; certified or not certified, etc. to provide both individual hotel management teams and head office executives with unrivalled granularity in managing their sustainability initiatives.”

“All this information is available in user-defined dynamic dashboards specifically tailored to the needs of each organization, and at the touch of a button. Full reporting and data export is also supported.”

Green Growth 2050 Chairman, Professor Geoff Lipman, a long-time industry leader and sustainability advocate, praised the Minor Hotel Group for its commitment to corporate social responsibility: “We decided to create Green Growth 2050 to help move traditional environmental indicators for the sector into the mainstream of industry response to climate change and sustainable development. We spoke to a number of hotel groups – all of whom were positive, but it took the long-term vision of the Minor Hotel Group to join us as a launch partner for the program – we are incredibly pleased to be working with them.

“2015 has been a watershed year for the International Community with three Heads of State Summits – on Development Finance, Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change; setting the agenda for a new socio-economic paradigm. The overarching aim is to stabilize climate change by 2050 but the broader goal is a more caring, inclusionary, resource efficient, low carbon society. Green Growth 2050 is a key tool in the armory of creative and positive change,” he concluded.

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Minor Hotel Group (MHG) is a hotel owner, operator and investor, currently with a portfolio of 145 hotels in operation under the Anantara, AVANI, PER AQUUM, Oaks, Tivoli, Elewana, Marriott, Four Seasons, St. Regis, Radisson Blu and Minor International brands. Today MHG operates in 22 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Europe and South America. With ambitious plans to grow the hotel group to 190 properties, MHG continues to expand the home grown brands of Anantara and AVANI, plus continues to announce strategic acquisitions. For more information, please visit www.minorinternational.com.

Green Growth 2050 is a new dynamic product and service set that links sustainable tourism and corporate social responsibility in support of Green Growth. It has been developed by Greenearth.travel, based in the EU and Vision CSR based in Australia. It draws on their multi decade experience as leaders and innovators in creating sustainable travel and tourism frameworks, as well as their extensive partnerships and alliances focused on green economy transformation and climate response.

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Tanzania: Promotion of Local Tourism Encouraged

IN a move to promote domestic tourism, a local company, Jovago has launched an online campaign dubbed ‘Tanzania Yetu’ to encourage local residents to visit attraction sites in the country.

Addressing members of the media in Dar es Salaam recently, the Public Relations Manager of Jovago, Ms Lilian Kisasa, said that the campaign was aimed at encouraging Tanzanians to share photos and videos of the attraction sites they have visited across the country using #Tanzaniayetu.

“Through various social media like face book and Instagram, people will be able to post photos and videos of the country’s attractions they have visited so as to encourage others,” said Ms Kisasa.

Based on Tourism Report of 2015, most tourists visiting the country are from Kenya, United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany, South Africa and France, which constitutes 60 per cent of foreign visitors and 40 per cent domestic.

“The campaign will require local people to share their experiences in the tourism sector so as to motivate those who have never done so to explore their own country and enjoy the beautiful attractive places they have never seen before,” she pointed out.

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According to the Country Manager of Jovago Tanzania, Mr Andrea Guzzoni, Tanzania has a lot of potential that people could learn from and enjoy the beauties of the country. “We do appreciate foreign visitors into the country but local residents should take personal initiatives to promote their own tourism sector so as to boost the economy of the country,” noted Mr Guzzoni. On his part, The Director of Tourism and Marketing at TANAPA, Mr Ibrahimu Mussa, lauded the effort taken by Jovago in promoting the tourism industry in the country.

“Technological use of such nature in our country should be encouraged, taking into consideration the gradual use of smart phones,” said Mr Mussa. He said sharing videos and photos is an easy way of creating awareness, therefore most people in the process will be motivated to visit the sites.

He added that in the next financial year, the ministry intends to extend further their service by posting adverts of the country’s sites through the social media and currently the attractions possess social media pages such as face book and instagram. “Statistics shows our annual site visitations include approximately 950 tourists whereas domestic tourists comprise of 300-450 people,” added Mr Mussa.

He called upon Tanzanians to overcome the misconception that only rich people are the ones who can afford to visit the country’s attraction sites. “Anybody can visit our attractions regardless of being well off or not, because the entry fee is affordable, people can simply organise themselves as a group to cater for transport issues,” he said.

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World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM London kick off 20th year of ethical tourism

New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.

Tourism businesses, organisations and initiatives around the world are now being invited to submit an entry into the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM London, as the world celebrates 20 years of responsible tourism action.

The global search for the world’s most enduring and inspirational examples of responsible tourism in action kicks off today with entries being accepted into five categories spanning issues across the tourism industry.

The announcement of the 2016 winners, at World Travel Market London, will this year be part of the celebrations marking 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest event for responsible tourism action globally. Furthermore, this year marks 20 years of the global responsible tourism movement, with the South African government publishing a tourism white paper in 1996 putting responsibility at the centre of its strategy.

New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.

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Justin Francis, founder of the Awards and managing director of organisers Responsible Travel comments “I am truly excited by what we will discover through the World Responsible Tourism Awards this year.

The organisations, initiatives and businesses we uncover each year have the power to shape the future of tourism, to be catalysts for change in an industry which will have a huge impact on global climate and development.

”I want to encourage any tourism business or organisation around the world, big or small, to submit an entry. We want to hear your story”.

The importance of the Awards in assessing how far responsible tourism has developed, and how much it been achieved in the last 10 years is not lost on chair of the judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the  International Centre for Responsible Tourism. “Through the Awards winners every year we see the standard of what is being achieved by people taking responsibility for tourism getting higher and higher” he says “And every year we see more and more countries represented in our entries.

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“Tourism, if sold, enjoyed and organised responsibly is of global importance, something that has been recognised in the new Sustainable Development Goals, and our winners this year will set the standard to which all tourism businesses should aspire”.

Awards Judge Simon Press, senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London, hosts of World Responsible Tourism Day says “The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London are a central pillar of the success of World Responsible Tourism Day.

“The awards winners and shortlisted companies act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.”

The 2016 categories:

  • Best accommodation for responsible employment
  • Best contribution to wildlife conservation – sponsored by Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Development Council
  • Best innovation by a tour operator
  • Best for poverty reduction and inclusion – sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly
  • Best responsible tourism campaign

WTM London’s World Responsible Tourism Day takes place on Tuesday 8 November.

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