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October 20, 2009

Responsible tourists love Cape Town

World Responsible Tourism Day is just around the corner – on November 11.

Simply put, Responsible Tourism is tourism that “creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit”. Many visitors think about this when they choose a destination.

In 2002, the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism was signed, laying down guidelines for destinations and tourism businesses committed to a more responsible approach to tourism and development. Tourism should not harm society or the environment; it should involve and benefit local people and enhance people’s understanding of each other.

Earlier this month, the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism and other tourism bodies signed the Cape Town Responsible Tourism Charter, underlining this commitment.

Cape Town already has several amazing projects and visitor experiences that underline its position as one of the world’s most responsible destinations.

One of these projects is the Tourism Community Development Trust.

TCD was formed by four players in the tourism industry who recognised the tremendous need for help in many disadvantaged areas. They teamed up to bring some real benefits of tourism to the community at large.

Some success stories of the TCD Trust include:

  • Masikhule Home Crèche: After raising over R150 000 in cash, the TCD Trust helped to plan and build a new crèche.
  • Baphumelele Educare Centre: The centre was improved with tiling, lighting, paint and carpets.
  • Rosalia’s Soup Kitchen: Rosalia provides food to hundreds of hungry children daily. Her soup kitchen was originally set up in a small wendy house. The TCD Trust built a proper kitchen with all the necessary facilities.
  • Respite Home for Infected Children: Run by Rosie Mashila, the Baphumelele Children’s Home houses over 200 children, from infants to teenagers. Some of the children have infectious diseases such as pneumonia and impetigo. In March 2007, a house and clinic were built where these children can be taken care of.

The next big challenge is the Blomvlei Multipurpose Centre in Hanover Park. This is a project to build a place of safety and inspiration on the premises of the Blomvlei Primary School, in a community vulnerable to violence and drugs.

The centre will have a library/media centre, hall, recreation area, vegetable garden and more.

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact the Tourism Community Development Trust: Bronwen Wetton: +27 (0)79 899 2294/ info@tcdtrust.org.za or have a look at their website: www.tcdtrust.org.za.

Contact Cape Town Tourism for a list of recommended responsible tourism businesses and experiences. They deserve all the support they can get!

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