In the pristine location of Knysna’s Featherbed Nature Reserve, Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, launched the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism in South Africa.

Van Schalkwyk commented that as South Africa’s natural environment was one of its greatest tourism resources, the tourism industry needs to be actively involved in conserving and protecting it. “Through the application of responsible tourism practices we will develop the tourism sector as a national priority in a sustainable and acceptable manner, integrating tourism to the broader social and economic processes in society,” van Schalkwyk said.

The Minister further explained that the launch was of great importance to responsible tourism by raising awareness amongst both tourism operators and the tourists themselves of the need to ensure the environment is protected and sustainable tourism is developed into the future to enable both current & future generations to enjoy the natural beauty of South Africa.

Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO Cape Town Routes Unlimited, said it was a great honour to be able to have the launch in the Western Cape as it is a region that will benefit greatly from the responsible tourism guidelines. “With these guidelines, we are setting South Africa up as a world-class destination.” He also said that conforming to the guidelines would add value to lodges and guest houses on an international level.