Some of the speakers at Southern Africa Sustainable Tourism Development Conference
Some of the speakers at Southern Africa Sustainable Tourism Development Conference

First Annual Southern Africa Sustainable Tourism Development Conference

The first Southern Africa Annual Sustainable Tourism Development Conference, hosted by RETOSA in partnership with the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme (STPP), took place from 16 to 17 November at the Cedar Woods Hotel in Johannesburg.

The conference’s aim was to become the catalyst in triggering a lasting sustainable tourism dialogue within the southern African region. Member states shared their knowledge and experiences of sustainable tourism knowledge. They gained exposure to international best practices and were also able to use the forum as a means to generate annual progress reports to ascertain the levels of development and implementation of sustainable tourism within member states.

The conference was targeted at stakeholders working in the sustainable tourism sector, namely SMME’s, the private and public sectors, tourism boards, ministries, NGO’s and sustainable tourism experts.

It was structured in a workshop format, with panel discussions and interactions between participants being the order of the day. Some of the key topics that were addressed included:

  • the state of sustainable tourism with a focus on both the private and public sectors;
  • community-based tourism (CBT) in southern Africa;
  • fair trade in tourism and quality standards;
  • the development of TFCA’s (Transfrontier Conservation Areas) in southern Africa;
  • climate change resilience and mitigation measures, as well as natural resource management; and an
  • optional site visit on the last day of the conference.

Given the significance of the theme of the conference, it garnered support from all corners of the world. Among the key speakers and organisations represented at the conference were:

Ms Megan Eplar Wood
Director of International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Harvard University

Dr Anna Spenceley
International Sustainable Tourism Specialist

Dr Sue Snyman
Regional Coordinator, Wilderness Safaris
Dr Geoffrey Manyara
Senior Regional Tourism Advisor, UNECA
Ms Caroline Ungersbock
CEO of the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme (STPP)
Professor Kevin Mearns

In addition to the above, the delegates also conducted a gap analysis. This enabled them to gain greater insights into the main opportunities and benefits of sustainable tourism development as well as barriers that are preventing member states and private sector stakeholders from implementing a holistic sustainable tourism agenda. It was supported by a wide range of partners including UNWTO, JICA and STTP.


Last modified onThursday, 15 December 2016 08:34
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