SWITCH Africa Green efforts re-warded

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Big win for Mauritius at the Responsible Tourism Awards.

Credit: Focus Photography Mauritius / unsplash

The SWITCH Africa Green project partner Mauritius Tourism Authority was awarded top honours in two distinct categories; Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food and Addressing Climate Change, at the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Awards 2023 held in Cape Town, South Africa. The WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Awards aim at acknowledging destinations and institutions that adopt the best sustainable practices by being innovative and acting as role models within the African continent.

The judges wanted to recognise work in developing sustainable craft. The Tourism Authority, as the regulator of the tourism sector, has taken responsibility for assisting tourism operators in adopting inclusive tourism principles, supporting local SMEs, sourcing local crafts, and promoting regenerative agriculture. Their vision is to make local sourcing and products labelled Made in Moris the first choice for locals and tourists alike, while shopping and looking out for gifts and souvenirs. The Mauritius Tourism Authority and the Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production have jointly implemented the Sustainable Island Mauritius project. The project promoted sustainable tourism in Mauritius by demonstrating and scaling up self-sustaining mechanisms for improving sustainability impacts along value chains. The Sus Island project targeted tour operators and their suppliers, including hotels, craft sellers, tour guides, taxi drivers, and handicraft makers etc. Funding from the European Union through the SWITCH Africa Green Programme enabled the development and publication of a Creative Guidebook and Toolbox for SMEs, entrepreneurs, artisans and designers that produce products in Mauritius and for companies that want to sell locally made goods, whether in their business, to tourists of for their own consumption. They use the footprint to describe negative impacts and the handprint to describe the positive value-adding impacts of actions taken by businesses that contribute to local community prosperity, the conservation of culture and nature and authentic tourist experiences.

The awards, which highlight and promote the best practices in sustainability and responsibility in the tourism industry on the African continent, were celebrated during the WTM Africa conference, which took place from 3 to 5 April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Award is not the first prize for the Sus Island project. In recognition of its work, the project was also  awarded the prize “Best Tourism NDC Investment Initiative of the Year” at the African NDC Investment Summit & Awards at COP27 in Egypt. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are targets that countries determine themselves to stop and mitigate climate change. The Sustainable Island Mauritius project has been awarded for its contribution toward circular, sustainable, inclusive, and regenerative tourism, supporting Mauritius to make substantial progress on its NDC targets.