Gansbaai wins World Responsible Tourism Award

WRTA 2015 destination-gansbaai

The Gansbaai is like an oyster that the local fishermen have opened only to discover a pearl inside – but that they then go on to share with all the world. Because Gansbaai, a town in the Overberg region, Western Cape, South Africa has transformed itself from fishing village to one of South Africa’s most exciting, and community led adventure hubs, a process that has been led by the Gansbaai Tourism Association which is one of South Africa’s most proactive and passionate clusters of tourism businesses, from fishermen to fynbos conservationists. Because at Responsible Travel we know that responsible destinations don’t just happen. People make them happen.

The wholly committed members of the Gansbaai Tourism Association have been putting this coastal community and biodiverse natural heritage on the map for the last twenty years. With a small fishing village at its core, the Gansbaai group keeps growing and growing. Many of the tourism business members are Fair Trade Tourism certified, and all are committed to protecting the natural environment, preserving heritage, improving the quality of life of local people, and strengthening the local economy. Shark cage diving, kayaking, responsible whale watching, horse riding, fynbos safaris, and hiking are just a few of the holidays experiences to be had in this area that used to be just a quiet fishing village.

Read more about the award here.

For some great Ubuntu Experiences in the Gansbaai area check Marine Dynamics for diving with Great White Sharks, Dyer Island Cruises for whale watching and International Marine Volunteers for a holistic responsible volunteer or research experience.


Travellers expect travel companies to be responsible

New research shows environmental credentials increasingly valued by consumers

New ABTA research released during World Travel Market in London reveals that travel companies with a good environmental record are increasingly gaining a commercial advantage, with three out of ten consumers (29%) saying they would be likely to choose one company over another based on their environmental record, up from one in five (19%) in 2011.

The survey also reveals a steady increase in the number of people prepared to pay more for a holiday with a company based on a better environmental and social record. A quarter of people (25%) said they would be prepared to do so, up from one in five (19%) in 2011, after having dropped to only 14% in 2012.

There is growing sentiment amongst consumers that it is the travel company’s responsibility to be environmentally responsible. Over four in ten consumers (45%) agree with this, up from a third (31%) in 2011. Only one in ten (13%) think this is not the case. The majority of consumers (62%), also believe that travel companies should ensure that their holidays help the environment, with only 5% disagreeing.

One in four consumers (40%) believe that holidays should have an environmental and social rating, such as provided by the Travelife scheme, with only 16% disagreeing.

25-34 year olds are the most likely age group (37%) to choose one company over another based on their environmental record. They are also the most likely (34%) to be prepared to pay more for a holiday with a company based on a better environmental and social record. Those with a young family are also the most likely (37%) to be willing to pay more for a holiday with a company based on a better environmental and social record.


Three Tree Hill Lodge gets it right!

Three Trees solar cooker

Three Tree Hill Lodge has invested heavily in social responsibility programmes. All staff receive sustainability induction training where they learn about good environmental practices, which apply not only to reducing their environmental impact in the workplace, but can also be applied in their homes and communities.  Staff are encouraged to come up with ideas on improving the business as well as projects in the community.

Employment opportunities are given to the local community as a first priority and subsequent training not only includes job-related skills training but also includes personal development such as; personal budgeting/savings, relationships and conflict resolution, and wellness training including HIV/AIDS through Life Line, conducted in Zulu.

Three Trees is actively involved in the local community. The lodge fundraises through the Three Tree Social Community Fund, R20 per guest per night is donated to this fund to benefit local schools and provide mentorship to entrepreneurs in the village.

Read more here and here.


Marine Dynamics wins Lilizela Award

Marine Dymamics Lilizela Award 2015

Marine Dynamics recently won the Lilizela Award for Best Visitor Experience. Here’s what the Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom had to say:

“Marine Dynamics offers a unique and exciting adventure: diving with sharks. Tourists remember this remarkable experience in our ocean forever. They encounter our amazing biodiversity up close, and they tell others about it. By creating meaningful and memorable experiences, Marine Dynamics is helping to position South Africa as a competitive global destination with unique attractions, and is spreading the valuable message of marine conservation around the world. The Department of Tourism applauds your outstanding work to showcase our country internationally, and congratulates you on winning a Lilizela award.” 

Read more on Marine Dynamic’s website.


Meet Professor Harold Goodwin


Responsible Tourism without Professor Harold Goodwin would be like the peace movement without leaders like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. Harold Goodwin’s conferences, research and writing have become crucial instruments for making sure that those in charge of travel companies and tourist destinations won’t forget their social and environmental responsibilities when dreaming up new ways of making money.

In this interview, Harold Goodwin tells us how it all started and how his views on sustainable – responsible – tourism have changed over the years.


The Good Holiday goes whale watching with Dyer Island Cruises

The Good Holiday is a great blog about responsible travel in South Africa and beyond. They recently went whale watching with Dyers Island Cruises. Not only did they see some fantastic whale action, they were also really impressed with the staff.

“I cannot begin to explain how incredible the team is. Truly, one of the things that makes or breaks an experience for me is the crew and service. I almost want to give ALL OF THEM 1000/10 if that is at all possible. Everyone involved, work to make their love for the ocean visible. In all honesty you will be safe and entertained and informed and happy!”

There is still time to see the whales until the end of the year so hurry and book your trip soon!


Ubuntu Experiences

Ubuntu Experiences all logos

Meet Ubuntu Experiences: great responsible tourism places to stay and things to do in South Africa.

Current members are: Three Tree Hill Lodge, Morning Sun Nature Reserve – Mashovhela Lodge, Umlani Bushcamp, Marine Dynamics, Dyer Island Cruises, International Marine Volunteers and Imonti Tours.

Would you like to join Ubuntu Experiences or learn more about the different businesses?

Are you a tour operator or travel agent in Europe that would like be sent more information or perhaps even have Emilie visit to do a personal presentation?

Please use the contact form and Emilie will be in touch asap. You can also email

  • Dyer Island Cruises




Welcome to Green Heart Tourism!

Did you know? The name for Green Heart Tourism was inspired by Het Groene Hart in The Netherlands. It’s where I am from (near Gouda) and it seemed like a great name for a responsible tourism consultancy.