Responsible Tourism

, Responsible Tourism, Ocean View House


The Responsible Tourism Charter is far reaching as it lays out a way of life, expressed through culture and attitude, to live in harmony with our environment and with each other, through mutual respect and sensitive awareness of the needs of others and the fragile balance of nature.

Social Impacts
Responsible Tourism works with local disadvantaged communities to raise awareness of tourism as well as awareness of their role as CUSTODIANS OF THEIR OWN CULTURAL PRACTICES AND HERITAGE. Visitors are encouraged to respect local cultural, social and religious practices and the dignity and privacy of others, as well as to bargain and donate responsibly.

An example of a Responsible Tourism projects is the Khayelitsha Tourism Information Centre at Look-Out Hill and the Khayelitsha Tourism Map help visitors experience both contemporary and traditional culture of the population of one of South Africa’s largest, most impoverished, township areas. The map features traditional healers, shebeens, eating places, crafters, musicians, homestays, peace gardens and historical sites.

Environmental Impacts
The Cape Floral Region is a World Heritage site that contains some of richest plant biodiversity in the world. Declared by UNESCO to be “outstanding universal significance to humanity” this area, covering only 0.5% of the area of Africa, is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. “It’s plant species diversity, density and endemism (found only in this region and do not occur elsewhere on earth) are among the highest worldwide, and it has been identified as one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hot-spots.” Table Mountain National Park alone has more plant species within its 22,000 hectares than the whole British Isles or New Zealand. [One hectare is 10,000 square metres or about 2.47 acres]. When it comes to fauna, the kingdom boasts 11,000 marine animal species, 3,500 of which are endemic, and 560 vertebrate species, including 142 reptile species, of which 27 are endemic.

Cape Town bears the international responsibility to ensure adequate conservation of this precious region. With over two-thirds of the city’s natural vegetation already classified as ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ and with less than 10% of at least nine of Cape Town’s vegetation types still remaining, this is a challenging and urgent duty. On the positive side, Cape Town has over 43,980 hectares of land under formal conservation, including the Table Mountain National Park. This works out to approximately 12,5hectaresper 1,000 population which well above the recommended standard (of 1 hectare per 1 000 population). Many of Cape Town’s natural areas are internationally renowned tourist destinations but remain inaccessible to the greater local population living in the poorer areas. The City recognises this critical social issue, and the need to make an increased effort to incorporate the provision of natural green space and nature reserves into city planning.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprints
The City has developed and implemented various programmes to reduce electricity use by 10%, including

  • Developing public and non-motorised transport. E.g. the creation of a network of cycle paths
  • Promoting renewable and cleaner energy E.g. the Solar Water Heater By-law requires the installation of solar water heaters in all new and existing buildings with a floor area of more than 100 square metres
  • Promoting energy efficiency and awareness among residents and business. E.g. The Smart Living Handbook gives practical tips to reduce energy usage
  • Encouraging use of sustainable technologies through E.g. Green Building Guidelines and Green Procurement Policy
  • The Southern Line Rail Project of 2010 targets tourism specifically providing the Cape Town to Simon’s Town rail line, running along a beautiful stretch of the Cape Peninsula’s coastline, as an alternative to rented cars, amongst tourists.

A number of programmes are in place.

  • Business support programmes to help tourism SMMEs
  • Community tourism awareness programmes
  • Developing tourism infrastructure in disadvantaged areas. E.g.Tourism Centres Sivuyile (Gugulethu), Gugasthebe (Langa) and Lookout Hill (Khayelitsha) and the False Bay Ecology Park
  • Marketing community-based tourism initiatives. e.g. Cape Care Route, in the official Cape Town Visitor’s Guide
  • Commissioning a uniquely Cape Town wire-and-bead product range for tourism businesses and visitors
  • Sponsored events. E.g. the Minstrel Carnival, Concerts in the Park, Goemarati
  • Funding the Cape Craft and Design Initiative (CCDI) that trains local craftsmen and designs and creates locally produced crafts
  • Cape Town Tourism has also pioneered a procurement model, which will be rolled out to all tourism businesses to help them buy local goods and services.