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Responsible green tourism touted

The fifth annual Weskus Responsible Tourism Conference took place on Tuesday 30 October at the West Coast Fossil Park with the aim to help the sector by “going green”.

Tourism stakeholders and tour operators also sought to raise awareness on the importance of conserving the environment.

Among the main aims of the responsible tourism conference were to get various tourism stakeholders under one roof where they could exchange and share ideas as well as their challenges to becoming more environmentally friendly in their practices.

Keynote speaker Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, said more is being done to get both local and international visitors to the province. During his speech he mentioned that although tourism numbers were slightly less than recent years there are plans to recover and gain more visitors especially in the forms of digital and video campaigns.

He adds that Cape Town and Table Mountain still function well in attracting more visitors.

The students of the Goedgedacht Trust also delivered a presentation at the conference regarding their Path out of Poverty programme (POP), which seeks to transform rural communities by providing children with the opportunity to become healthy, self confident, educated residents as well as inspire them to take up leadership roles in their own communities.

The event was hosted by the West Coast District Municipality (WCDM) in association with Wesgro and the Saldanha Bay Tourism Organisation (SBTO). The conference also rotates within different municipal regions and took place in the Swartland last year.

According to Heinrich Robertson, communications officer of the WCDM, a responsible tourism committee has been busy with various projects within the district during the year.

He adds that the committee identifies pilot projects where responsible tourism initiatives are introduced and offers support to these projects to become more sustainable. “We hope we can change the perception of tourism stakeholders in the West Coast district so that responsible tourism practices can become the new norm,” said Robertson.

Tourism stakeholders and the public are encouraged to submit their responsible tourism ideas to info@wcdm.co.za.

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