The FEDHASA Imvelo Awards, first held in 2002, recognize tourism businesses that demonstrate sustained responsible practice in their operations in terms of their natural, social, and economic environments. Imvelo, which means “nature” in the African Nguni language, encourages industry members to accept voluntary guidelines promoting responsible tourism. The awards are in line with the responsible tourism guidelines for the South African hospitality industry and the UN World Tourism Organization’s code of ethics and are supported by the Heritage Environmental Certification Program (Heritage).
There were 159 high-quality entries from tourism businesses, across the Southern African region vying for the nine Imvelo Award categories. The Best Social Involvement award went to Sun International, Zambia, in recognition of the way in which the resort at Livingstone in Zambia has approached its commitment to social involvement in its community. This year, the resort continued its social contract through support and guidance for sustainable projects in the local community, and to ensuring self-sufficiency for community projects. By providing guidance and continual involvement by its team, Sun International Zambia made a significant difference in the lives of members of its marginalized communities, and there is no doubt that these efforts are making a real difference.
The “Best Practice: Water” award went to Southern Sun Drakensberg Sun Lifestyle Resort, KwaZulu-Natal, for demonstrating a sustainable and responsible approach to the management and care of its water resources. The resort operates its own water treatment facility that has been proven to add to the downstream quality of water, while their involvement in the “Working with Water” project continues to result in increased river flow through their property. An integrated approach to water management - as part of its overall environmental management system, has resulted in sustained reductions of 7.2 percent in water consumption this past year.
The award for “Best Practice: Waste” went to Southern Sun Waterfront, Cape Town, for its combination of appropriate facilities, keen and active management, and the implementation of an integrated waste management strategy. Through this approach, the hotel has managed to achieve an average recycling rate of 82 percent, thereby setting a new benchmark for the region. In the words of one of the judges: “This entrant has shown that they are managing their waste in the best manner for the hospitality industry.”
In addition to the winning businesses, a total of 17 Green Globe and Heritage certified properties in southern Africa were recognized as finalists in the nine categories, far outshining non-certified properties. “This clearly validates the effectiveness of our joint certification approach,” said Greg McManus, Managing Director of the Heritage Program. “It reflects a growing awareness of environmental stewardship in tourism and acceptance by the industry of third-party certification systems,” he added.
“Green Globe Certification and Heritage have partnered in South Africa to deliver the world’s most comprehensive and only dual-certification program for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism enterprises. The success of its members reflects both companies’ ability to take internationally-accepted principles and standards for sustainability and delivers them locally,” said Guido Bauer, Green Globe Certification CEO.