In the 2 years before the STPP was established, it founding members has visited 40 towns accross South Africa to create awareness off Responsible / SustainableTourism Practices.The STPP has visited 15 additional  towns between March and August 2013 facilitating a process of identifying key barriers to the implementation of Respinsble / Sustainable Tourism  amongst individual businesses, communitiy members, towns and regions. Some of the key factors identified  include:

  • Lack of knowledge and information amongst key stakeholders including tourism businesses, community members,  local coverment, tourists and corporates accross South Africa;
  • Lack of support for the mobilisation of sustainable tourism programmes, including the provision of "how-to programmes" and incentives;
  • Lack of collaboration amongst key stakeholders and a general mentality of fierce competition and each for his own in towns;

  • The perceptions that Sustainable Tourism equals higher costs and  administrative burdens;
  • Tourism tends to be  seasonal and many of the establishments “close down” out of season or rather “do well” during season. This impacts poverty level in many areas in  South Africa,  as many people are unemployed for large parts of the year.
  • Cost of electricity as well as rates and taxes are astronomically high and this cripples many tourism  and other businesses.  Off-the grid options are also expensive, so many businesses find it impossible to make the switch.  T;
  • While the will is there to implement local solutions,  more training is required and local government needs to be involved. Efforts to implement e.g. vegetable gardens  and waste management by businesses have been derailed due to lack of local support;

The STPP Project in each town provides a holistic approach to Sustainable / Responsible Tourism Implementation.  It uses tourism as a catalyst for economic development that extends beyond tourism alone. Each town has a different journey as each town faces its own key challenges.  Through the collection of information during extended travel and workshops as well as having access to video footage from STPP partners, the STPP is able to implement fit-for-purpose projects in each town.  However, support from funding partners is  required to make this a reality.  Interventions include:

  • Mass awareness creation through campaigns targeted at different audiences e.g. the STPP has launched  social media platform, which can be accesses via smart phones and feature phones to overcome communication barriers that still exist due to the lack of internet access);
  • Implementation of  energy and water saving inititiatives within tourism businesses;
  • Management and staff training on 'greening' your establishment and service excellence;
  • The creation of a local 'green shops`, where produce from the region can be sold to tourists and businesses, including hospitality supplies;
  • Setting up of local cooperatives to produce goods to supply 'green shops' (which should provide livelihoods to people year round, as these will supply other businesses and private households as well) e.g. micro vegetable farms;
  • Waste management, composting and worm farming to increase recycling and stimulate local  job creation;
  • Increase themultiplier effect from tourism spend and reduce leakage from local communities;
  • Set up collaborative partnerships that provide the skills and resources to execute each project;
  • Develop long term sustainable tourism strategies and implementation plans within each town.

The STPP has identified and engaged a locall champion and the following steps are required to mobilise responsible tourism implementation in the town:

TheSTPP requires a cash input of R8 million per annum over the next 7 years  to will achieve its objectives of assisting 1000 accommodation estalbishments per year to embark on the sustainability journey and to create capacity within the local communities to meet the supply chain demand of these establishments.  The funding will cover the costs of all STPP activities, including:

  • Travel & Accommodation
  • Workshop Facilitation
  • Training Interventions
  • Project Managment
  • Data Management
  • Disbursements

 

research and public policy