The WTM Africa 2024 Conference Programme offers something of interest for everyone, but today we focus on the full day conference on responsible tourism as well as the African Responsible Tourism Awards.

Register HERE to attend WTMA 2024

Here’s an overview of the programme: (Click HERE for the full WTMA conference programme)

Thursday 11 April: 

The Responsible Tourism Conference

10h30 – 10h40 – Welcome and Opening Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town, Carol Weaving MD WTM Arica & Olivia Gradidge, Marketing Manager, Africa Travel Week

10h40 – 11h10 – The Responsible Tourism Movement has been going on for two decades – what have we learnt?

Drawing on experience around the world since the launch of the Cape Town Declaration in 2002 Harold Goodwin will reflect on what works and why for businesses and destinations. What are the business opportunities? How can destinations use tourism for their sustainable development? How do we address climate change and green aviation, make tourism more inclusive, use it to relieve poverty, improve livelihoods and make better places for people to live in?

11h10 – 12h00 – Positive Impact Tourism

Organisations like the World Travel and Tourism Council have long pointed to the positive economic impact of tourism, that approach is now broadening to include Nature Positive Travel & Tourism and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance promotes “Net Positive Hospitality for a better world.” This panel will reflect on why positive impact has come to the fore and how it can be used to counter greenwashing.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Adviser

Panel: Emilie Hagedoorn  –  Green Heart Tourism;  Michael Lutzeyer – Founder & Visionary, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve; Nwabisa Mjoli – Sustainability Content and Support Lead at Weeva; Kim Weber – Group Commercial Manager City Centre Conference Centre

12h00 – 12h40 – What is the future of certification?  

There has been mounting concern from businesses about cost and consumers about miss-selling for some time. It can be argued that certification is the safest form of greenwashing. There is a move towards greater transparency around the sustainability agenda, and the EU, an important market for Africa, is (a) requiring more transparent reporting from larger businesses on their Corporate Social Responsibility, including Scope 1 & 2, which will require SMMEs to report to their business partner and (b) the Green Claims Directive which will impact directly on businesses selling to consumers in Europe. We have 40 minutes to explore and debate the issues and to try to thrash out a way forward that works for B2B and B2C businesses.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Advisor
Resource Persons: Julie Cheetham – Weeva; Ruth Crichton – The Long Run; Emilie Hagedoorn – Green Heart Tourism;  Lisa Scriven –Fair Trade Tourism,

 12h40 – 13h10 – The Cape Town Experience of Responsible Tourism

Harold Goodwin in Conversation with Dr Theuns Vivian Head: Destination Development & Economic Growth, Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism. Our conversation will range over the experience of the last two decades, current developments and plans for the future.

13h10 – 13h50 – Responsible Tourism at the V & A Waterfront 
The V&A Waterfront, a renowned advocate for Responsible Tourism, aims to address socio-economic and environmental concerns. By doing so, the V&A hopes to set an inspiring example of how collaboration with communities, environmental stewardship, and ethical business practices can drive success. In alignment with its commitment to connecting local communities with the waterfront, the V&A will delve into its journey to becoming a global leader in responsible destination development. From enhancing public spaces to safeguarding marine wildlife, fostering learning opportunities, and championing diversity and inclusion, the V&A will share insights into its innovative approach and future strategies. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore how responsible tourism can benefit local communities, various industries, and the broader tourism sector.

Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Advisor; Vusi Nondo – Executive Manager, Development at the V&A Waterfront

13:50- 14:00 – Kerala Village Life Experiences
The Village Life Experiences created by the Responsible Tourism Mission in Kerala were at least in part inspired by the township tours of South Africa. Commissionable to hotels, resorts and tour operators, the guides and villagers earn from hosting the tourist’s Village Life Experiences, enriching the local community and the guest experience and extending the length of stay.

Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Advisor

14h00 – 14h20 – Transparent Reporting 

Harold Goodwin in conversation with Julie Cheetham,  co-founder and Managing Director of Weeva and Head of Sustainability at Nianova about the implications of the EU Green Claims Directive and the contribution of the Weeva sustainability management platform to sustainability, resilience and business.

14h20 – 15h00 – Nature Positive Tourism
The World Travel & Tourism Council is encouraging travel and tourism to become Guardians of Nature, pointing out that 80% of Travel & Tourism goods and services directly or indirectly rely on nature’s resources and functioning ecosystems. But what does this mean in practice? Our panel will share their experience.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Advisor
Panel: Wilfred Chivell – MD Dyer Island Cruises Whale Watch and Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, Chairman Dyer Island Conservation Trust; Miha Logar – Co-Founder, Gorilla Highlands Experts; Michel Girardin  Michel Girardin & Associates & Shiluvari  Ndlopfu Gogos (Elephant Grandmothers); Isabelle Tomkins – Samara, Karoo Reserve, Rewilding in Action

15h00 – 15h30 – Marketing Responsible Tourism
Harold Goodwin, in conversation with Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Head of Marketing, V&A Waterfront, about how best to use marketing as part of a tourism business’s Responsible Tourism strategy. There is increasing scepticism amongst travellers and holidaymakers about greenwashing, but at the same time, research reveals that consumers cannot find sustainable choices.

15h30 -15h45 – Mejdi Travel – Dual Narative Tours 
Aziz Abu Sarah, a co-founder of Mejdi Tours, in conversation with Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Adviser. Aziz and Scott consider travel to be one of the most powerful and untapped resources for creating a better planet. Leaders in socially conscious travel Mejdi focus on bringing the rich cultural diversity of every destination and its hidden and special stories to their travellers, doing so in a way that benefits the local people’s lives and livelihoods. Mejdi is looking to expand its offer stand to partner with African businesses. They have developed dual narrative tours to enable travellers to get a rounded sense of the societies they visit.

15h45 – 16h00 – Launch of the ICRT Southern Africa Network
There is an international group of International Centres of Responsible Tourism, networks which share knowledge and together seek to make tourism better. The ICRT India Foundation was the first to formally establish itself as a not-for-profit with a view to securing grant funding for South-South knowledge and praxis exchange. Come along to hear about the plans for the Southern Africa Network and join if you see value in it. The objectives and purposes of the ICRTs internationally are those of the 2022 Responsible Tourism Charter. There will be an opportunity to sign up to the charter. Come along if you would like to become part of the ICRT Southern Africa Network and contribute to and gain from this movement to make tourism better for businesses, communities in destinations, and their cultural and natural environments.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin, WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Advisor
Panel: Julie Cheetham – Weeva; Ruth Crichton – The Long Run; Emilie Hagedoorn – Green Heart Tourism; Bangu Masisi ICRT – Sapphire Corporate Solutions &  ICRT Southern Africa ; Glynn O’Leary – Transfrontier Parks Destinations & ICRT Southern Africa 

16h00 – 17h00 – African Responsible Tourism Awards Ceremony
Dive into the extraordinary achievements of WTM Africa entrants! Join us as we unveil and celebrate innovative projects and reveal the winners who redefine excellence in the travel and tourism industry. The Gold winners will be entered into the Global Responsible Tourism Awards sponsored by Sabre.  The WTM Africa Awards will be presented by Mandisa Magwaxaza

17h00 – 17h30 – Awards Celebration
Join us at the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Award Celebration! Indulge in delectable activations and seize the opportunity to converse with the prestigious award winners.

Other insightful sessions:

Sustainability and Social Cohesion – 12:00 – 12:20

Practising Responsible Tourism requires us, first and foremost’ to be good neighbours. To people, to wild spaces and wildlife. By far and large, the majority of communities alongside protected wild spaces, live by the lowest standards of measuring livelihood. What does the social status of these communities say about the relationship between tourism and communities. How do we speak to each other? Care for each other? How can we reshape the relationship between rural communities neighbouring protected wild spaces and the businesses that operate in those wild spaces?

Mandisa Magwaxaza – Founder, Molo Mhambi Relations; Dr Andrea Ferry – Sustainability Coordinator, Singita

Beyond Voyeurism. Crafting authentic community tourism experiences – 12:30 – 13:15

Tourism has the power to be a force for good, providing meaningful cultural exchange and economic benefits for local communities. Yet poorly managed community-based tourism can slip into voyeurism, exploiting locals as part of the “experience.” In this interactive session, experts will share insights on how to develop community tourism initiatives that foster authentic engagement and deliver positive impacts. Attendees will learn best practices for partnering with communities, ensuring local ownership, and designing experiences that are empowering and educational for both visitors and hosts. Whether you work for a tour operator, lodge, government agency or NGO, this session will equip you with strategies and tools to take community tourism to the next level. Be part of shaping the future of socially-conscious and sustainable travel.

Delphino Machikicho – Co-founder, Waumbe Youth Development

Sustainable Seychelles: Nurturing Paradise – A discussion on Eco-Tourism conscious tourism – 14:30 – 15:15

Immerse yourself in a thought-provoking dialogue at “Sustainable Seychelles: Nurturing Paradise,” a compelling discussion focused on fostering eco-conscious tourism in this tropical haven. Join industry leaders, environmentalists, and stakeholders as we explore innovative approaches to balance tourism growth with the preservation of Seychelles’ natural beauty. From responsible travel practices to community engagement, this discussion aims to shape a sustainable future for Tourism Seychelles. Together, let’s chart a course towards a harmonious coexistence between tourism and the pristine ecosystems that define the Seychelles archipelago. Join us in redefining the narrative of Tourism Seychelles, ensuring that our paradise thrives for generations to come.

Bernadette Willemin – Director General Marketing, Tourism Seychelles

Empowering Youth in Conservation Tourism: Moulding the Custodians of Nature’s Future – 15:00 – 16:00

Exploring initiatives that engage young individuals in environmental education and conservation, reaping long-term rewards by inspiring the next generation through multiple immersive encounters with nature. Moreover, gain insight into our Sustainable Schools Programme, which supports schools with in-person environmental education efforts and the advantages of participation in our online platform

Leah Mulenga – Conservation Leadership Project Coordinator, Nature Connect

Day 1 – 10 April 2024 responsible tourism programme

Day 3 – 12 April 2024 responsible tourism programme