Africa Travel Week
Responsible Tourism Awards

What we are looking for in World Responsible Tourism Award entries

The aim of this year’s awards is to recognise those who have taken responsibility and addressed the challenge of COVID-19 writes Harold Goodwin.

Entries for the World Responsible Tourism Awards are now open. It seemed inappropriate to carry on as usual, and the judges are looking forward to highlighting the businesses and destinations who have achieved incredible things during the crisis.

Many local communities have been hard hit by COVID-19 and the absence of tourists which has destroyed many livelihoods. Let’s remember that tourism is a major funder of conservation in Africa and around the world.

As Justin Francis, CEO: Responsible Travel has argued there is far less welfare support for those who lose their livelihoods in developing countries, there are altruistic and self-interested reasons to act. “The developed north relies on many less developed countries to deliver travel ‘product’. Recovery here requires it there – we need to rebuild together.”

The Awards this year are different, we need to support wildlife and local communities. Don’t be reticent. Good practice must be recognised; the market is becoming more discerning.

The ambition of the Awards has always been to recognise businesses and destinations which are making tourism better and to spread good practice – to educate, inspire and challenge others to do likewise or do more. World Responsible Tourism Awards winners are widely recognised by clients, partners, suppliers and local communities as businesses which contribute to local communities and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

To give you a better idea of what the judges are looking fo, I spoke to Glynn O’Leary, CEO: Transfrontier Parks Destinations, Richard Vigne, CEO: Ol Pejeta Conservancy as well as Justin Francis.

Winning a World Responsible Tourism Award builds reputation, it makes business sense.

There are many ways in which the tourism sector is addressing the pandemic in destinations all around the world:

  • Addressing the needs of neighbours and employees in the face of Covid-19 – finding ways of sustaining business to keep local people employed or using their facilities to help their neighbours cope with Covid-19
  • Decarbonising travel and tourism- this remains a real priority for the sector
  • Supporting wildlife and habitat in a year when tourism earnings for wildlife and conservation have been very substantially reduced
  • Building or maintaining “meaningful connections” through Responsible Tourism value-led marketing and social media engagement
  • Fundraising for people, wildlife or heritage
  • Developing Domestic Tourism – looking for examples of businesses & destinations which have refocused on attracting a more local market, encouraging staycations or localisation (when safe to do so)

Remember the judges can only recognise the destinations, businesses and other organisations or individuals that are nominated. Nominate yourself or others here.

Harold Goodwin

Harold Goodwin is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracts 2000 participants each year and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Ireland. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.