Responsible Tourism is THE Game Plan in our Landscape – Marie-Tinka Uys
Representatives of the Protected Areas in the Greater Kruger area and their prime tourism destination product owners attended a Workshop on the development of the Greater Kruger Responsible Tourism Toolkit, which will be linked to the Cooperative Agreement which will be signed by private reserves, provincial authorities and the Kruger National Park next week.
The Workshop was facilitated by Fair Trade in Tourism, who won the bid to complete the Toolkit. The Toolkit’s implementation will be monitored by Protected Area Managers to ensure maximum benefits. This development is sponsored by the Global Environmental Facility.
Responsible tourism (RT) is a business management approach that enables tourism businesses, local people, nature and cultural heritage to thrive.
Mr Glenn Phillips, Managing Executive of the Kruger National Parks, explained further: “The revised Kruger National Park Management Plan has as one of its key focus areas, the implementation of Responsible Tourism Standards both within the Park and working with all partners, in the greater Kruger landscape. The minimum standards of responsible Tourism (SANS1162) from the basis of the toolkit that will measure implementation of the standards.
Responsible tourism in essence seeks to drive good business practice with focus on, sound management, conservation of the environment and the inclusion and protection of local culture and cultural assets. “The opportunities brought by responsible tourism that empower local people and economies to prosper while reducing environmental pressures and risks are significant for long-term sustainability and resilience” Ms Jane Edge, Chief Executive Officer of Fair Trade in Tourism, emphasised.
The Group collectively developed indicators for each measurement.
“I really appreciate the Kruger National Park’s credible efforts to be, firstly, inclusive by ensuring that the private sector forms part of the engine that drives local economies, and secondly, create opportunities for those living next to the Protected Areas to participate in the biodiversity Economy!”, Christine Hlabathi, Tourism Officer of the Mopani District Municipality said. “Attending this workshop was an empowering experience”.