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City signs Cape Town Responsible Tourism Charter

The City of Cape Town, together with other major tourism associations, has signed a Cape Town Responsible Tourism Charter, which commits the city and the industry to responsible tourism behaviour and practises.

The charter is one of the outcomes of the City’s ‘Responsible Tourism Framework’, which has been workshopped with tourism industry stakeholders.

Responsible Tourism, sometimes known as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ tourism, is tourism that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit. It does so while bearing in mind the concept of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental integrity and social justice.

The charter, also signed by FEDHASA, SATSA, SAACI and Cape Town Tourism, commits each signatory to developing, operating and marketing tourism in a manner that upholds these guiding principles. The signatories will do their best to reduce any negative economic, environmental and social impacts that tourism may have, and generate greater economic benefit for residents. They will also work to make positive contributions to the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage, and enable tourists and residents to make meaningful connections with each other. Visitors will be able to leave our city knowing that they have encountered our ‘real’ urban reality, for all its good and bad, and knowing that they have been able to make a difference, for good.

The Responsible Tourism signatories have also committed to providing universal access to tourism sites, and to building local pride and confidence.

Other Responsible Tourism initiatives and policies
Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism Charter and Framework are responses to the National Responsible Tourism Guidelines (2002) and the National Minimum Standards for Responsible Tourism (2009). Other outcomes of the Framework include improving working conditions within the industry, and bettering access to industry opportunities.

Projects and initiatives have not been developed in isolation of other ‘green’ programmes in Cape Town. Already the City and tourism bodies are working on a ‘water bottle’ initiative, encouraging locals and visitors to recycle plastic bottles, and drink local tap water. The ‘towel’ initiative, which many of us have no doubt noted, encourages hotel guests to re-use their towels once dry, thereby reducing the use of energy, water and chemicals in the hospitality industry.

Other initiatives include energy-saving programmes and technologies, local procurement, and the design, production and retail of local products in the tourism sector. Other related strategies include the Draft Green Building Guidelines, the 2010 FIFA World CupTM Green Goal programme, the Greening of Events Policy, Cape Town Green Map, Cape Town Events Policy and Bylaw, the Solar Energy Bylaw, Water and Waste Management Policies and Bylaws, the Smart Living Handbook, the YES Schools Programme, and various Environmental Resource Management strategies/policies.

Within the next 12 months, the City intends to develop the principles of the Responsible Tourism policy into a corporate Responsible Tourism Improvement Plan of action. This will involve talking to visitors and locals about Responsible Tourism, and the wonderful tourism experiences that await residents and visitors alike in this beautiful city.

To read a copy of the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Charter, click here>
To download a copy of the City’s Responsible Tourism Policy, click here>
Martin Pollack
© City of Cape Town, 2016