SA outranks US as top global sustainable tourism destination

2015-03-09 15:41
Post a comment 9

(Shutterstock)

Cape Town - Responsible Travel, a website dedicated to advocating sustainable and responsible travel throughout the world,  has published the first league table of tourist boards, and South Africa has gain a top spot on the list of sustainable countries along with Bhutan, Sweden and England. 

Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, praised South Africa specifically for their achievement in making responsible tourism such a priority.

READ: Responsible Souvenirs: from SA with love... 

Other African countries did not fare as well as SA on the list, with Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya scoring 4 out of 6, Zambia scoring 2 out of 6, Madagascar scoring 3 out of 6, and Botswana, with the closest score to SA's, scoring at 5 out of 6. 

The countries were graded by their tourism boards' commitment to responsible tourism, as outlined on their websites, and asked whether more should be done to ensure tax payers’ money is being used to promote local over global initiatives. 

The national tourist board websites of Responsible Travel’s top 50 selling countries were examined and six questions were asked, relating to tourists boards’ vision, policies and activity in responsible and sustainable tourism. 


The questions were: 

1. Is there any mention anywhere of responsible or sustainable tourism?

2. Does responsible or sustainable tourism feature in their vision/mission?

3. Do they have any specific policies for responsible or sustainable tourism?

4. Do they have evidence based reports on any achievements in responsible or sustainable tourism?

5. Do they identify holidays on their site that have been screened or audited for responsible tourism?

6. Do they provide any educational information or tips for tourists about responsible tourism?


A maximum of 6 points (all covered) and a minimum of 0 could be scored.

Out of the tourist boards surveyed, seven scored 0. These boards belonged to China, Finland, Ethiopia, Vietnam, France, Japan and the USA, meaning they had no reference to responsible or sustainable tourism anywhere on their sites.

On the contrary, Bhutan, South Africa, England and Sweden all scored 6 points. 

Justin Francis says South Africa sets a true example of how national and local strategies were implemented in order to achieve responsible tourism. "In many cases around the world," Francis says, "we think responsibility in tourism is being achieved despite the tourist board not because of it. South Africa, however is a real exception." 

Because "strategies for responsible tourism is enshrined in law and policy in South Africa, with real programs of work to deliver it, results are evident," says Francis. 

He believes that "without any clearly visible published policies for responsible tourism we cannot be sure tourist boards have any way to manage tourism for the benefit of local communities".

The full table of responsible countries is as follows: 

 
6 out of 6

South Africa 
Bhutan 
Sweden 
England 



5 out of 6

Botswana 
Costa Rica 
Chile 
Morocco 
Norway 
Laos 
Indonesia 



4 out of 6

India 
Peru 
Burma (Myanmar) 
Namibia 
Tanzania 
Uganda 
Canada 
Kenya 



3 out of 6

Spain 
Madagascar 
Scotland
Jordan 
Nepal 
Australia 



2 out of 6

Croatia 
Ecuador 
Thailand 
Cambodia 
Romania 
Zambia 



1 out of 6 

Italy 
Cuba 
Malaysia 
Sri Lanka 
Turkey 
Portugal 
Trinidad & Tobago 
Greece 
Iceland 
Bolivia 
Tibet 
Montenegro 



0 out of 6

Finland 
Vietnam 
Japan 
France 
China 
Ethiopia 
USA 




Please share your photos and information with us at info@traveller24.com or post them on our FacebookTwitter or Instagram accounts - you could be featured on News24.

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.