Some of South Africa’s most innovative tourism product is also its most sustainable, and WTM Africa, whose commitment to responsible tourism underpins the entire event, was the platform to showcase it.

Held at the Cape Town Convention Centre from 2-3 May, WTM Africa saw more than 350 exhibiting companies, including a host of exciting responsible tourism suppliers in the Western Cape who presented their products to buyers and the press at the first Responsible Tourism Speed Marketing session ever held in South Africa.

From guided cycle tours of the Cape Winelands and running tours through the Gugulethu, to green cabs and tour operators assisting travellers with disabilities, the entrepreneurs were given five minutes each to present their unique product offering.

Says tourism entrepreneur, Ian Harris from Coffeebeans Routes: “Travellers are on the look out for stories and we have an opportunity to share everyone’s story in the mainstream environment, from the former Spier chef who cooks for our travellers and educates them about the iShack project, to the Khayelitsha fashion designer and the Beer Route where visitors get to see traditional micro-brewing.”

“We approached Reed Exhibitions and Reed Thebe Exhibitions to provide a platform for these 14 entrepreneurs to access buyers and press at WTM Africa. Not only have they given us an opportunity to present their product, the exhibitors were also registered as exhibitors giving them much wider exposure to the events attendees. WTM Africa has sustainability as its foundation and this is the perfect event for this type of product to showcase itself,” says Heidi Keyser, International Sustainable Tourism Advisor.

Responsibility is high on the agenda for WTM Africa, says WTM Africa Exhibitions Director Polly Magraw. “And especially in Cape Town where we have so many wonderful responsible tourism products that can be showcased.”

“We have also worked with Greenpop so that a tree is planted on behalf of each exhibitor to help offset the carbon emission generated as a result of the show,” says Polly.

Although the tourism entrepreneurs received free entry to the show, they did raise funds for WTM Africa’s official charities, Tusk and The Code. “Nearly R3 000 was raised for WTM Africa’s two official charities and we are extremely grateful for their generosity,” concludes Polly.