2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards longlist revealed

The competition for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards has moved into the second round, with over 30 tourism organisations competing for top spots at the awards ceremony at WTM Africa in April.

Sponsored by WESGRO and organised by Better Tourism Africa, the awards recognise African organisations that offer a shining example of how tourism can benefit the local people, the environment, and destinations. The awards are part of a family of regional Responsible Tourism Awards which culminate each year with World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM in London. This year, the longlist names tourism organisations from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Longlisted organisations compete in seven categories, among them habitat and species conservation, engaging people and culture, poverty reduction and a new category in 2017 – the best responsible event.

“The quality of entries which have made it through to the longlist this year confirms the power of responsible tourism as a force for good in Africa. Each and every one of these organisations is playing an important role in championing responsible tourism. We’ve reviewed the information from the first round entry forms, and are excited about the possibilities,” says Heidi van der Watt, founder of the African awards and director of Better Tourism Africa. The longlisted organisations will now be rigorously questioned and their submissions reviewed by the judging team. Chair of Judges, Professor Harold Goodwin says:

“The field for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) is even stronger than previous years – and that takes some doing! Those longlisted have been invited to complete a detailed questionnaire, we’ll take up references and make some inquiries. On judging day we’ll identify those that demonstrate the difference that taking responsibility can make, and have the capacity to educate and inspire others to be more responsible.” The general public can also offer support or otherwise for longlisted organisations by emailing talktous@africanresponsibletourismawards.com. Based on all the evidence, the independent judging team, made up of industry experts, will debate the entries and select the shortlist and winners. The shortlist will be announced on 7 April 2017.

The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony that will be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The ceremony is part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa, which takes place from 19 to 21 April 2017. Carol Weaving, Managing Director for Reed Exhibitions, organiser of WTM Africa, says:

“WTM Africa is now firmly established on the African travel and tourism event calendar. Responsible Tourism is a cornerstone of WTM Africa and integral to the success of tourism on the continent. All stakeholders have a duty to ensure education, sustainability, and authenticity when promoting the unique experiences that Africa has to offer. We look forward to an exciting third edition of the African Responsible Tourism Awards, here in Cape Town at the CTICC at WTM Africa.”

The 2017 ARTA longlist

@BushCampsAfrica African Bush Camps
@African_Impact African Impact
@alloutafrica All Out Africa
@basecampexplore Basecamp Explorer
@Blood_Lions Blood Lions™
@bushfirefest Bushfire
@CoffeeShackBP Coffee Shack Backpackers
@WeAreWilderness Damaraland Camp & the Torra Conservancy
@porinisafaris Gamewatchers Safaris
@GreatPlainsCons Great Plains Conservation
@GreenGirlAfrica Green Girls in Africa
@ilhablue.islandsafaris Ilha Blue Island Safaris
@influencetours Influence Tours
@IsibindiAfrica Isibindi Africa Lodges
@Khayavolunteers Khaya Volunteer Projects
@KwandweReserve Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
@LEO.Africa LEO Africa
@MaasaiOlympic Maasai Olympics
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience Festival
Mashujaa Peace Walk
@PantheraAfrica Panthera Africa
@SaltyCrax_SAVE Save Foundation
@serenahotels Serena Hotels
@simiens.lodgeSimien Lodge
Sterkspruit Community Art Centre Tele Bridge Race
@Thanda_ Thanda Safari
@thebackpackcpt The Backpack
@WeAreWilderness Tour de Tuli
@TzaneenLodge Tzaneen Country Lodge
@LetsGoTravelKE Uniglobe Lets Go Travel
@UthandoSouthAfr Uthando
@WarriorOnWheels Warrior On Wheels Foundation
@WeAreWilderness Wilderness Safaris
@wildlifeact Wildlife ACT

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The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.

Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit

Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed.  Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa.  The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all.  This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.

Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated

Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA.  Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.

Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.

Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”

“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”

The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada

South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.

Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail  littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.

Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.

Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.

Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist

With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected.    Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise.   Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice.   It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis.   Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.

Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”

Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid

Canned Lion