This years Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards programme is open for entries. Imvelo is now in its 11th year and awards businesses that implement sustained responsible tourism programmes.

Organised by the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, Absa, the Department of Water Affairs, the Industrial Development Corporation and Eskom, Imvelo (which means nature in Nguni) is open to any type of tourism or hospitality business in Africa.

The awards are in line with the National Minimum Standards for Responsible Tourism and the UN World Tourism Organisation`s code of ethics. They are supported by the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme. FEDHASA Chairman Eddy Khosa says Imvelo has created significant awareness of environmental management issues in the tourism industry. “Over the past 10 years Imvelo has found and recognised world-class examples of responsible tourism practice.”

Awards will be made in the categories Best social involvement programme, Best practice – economic impact, Best overall environmental management system, Best single resource management programme – for water, energy and waste, Most empowered tourism business and Investing in people. An overall Imvelo winner will be selected. A Chairman`s award can be made at the discretion of the FEDHASA chairman to any Imvelo entrant or any other organisation in the tourism industry that made a significant contribution to responsible tourism over the past year.

Entrants will be judged by a panel of specialists in responsible tourism practice and finalists will be visited personally to verify and evaluate their entries.

Winners will receive their awards at an awards ceremony to be held in Johannesburg on 31st October. Deadline for Entries are 31 August 2012.