Cape Town gets the green thumbs up

Africa’s most popular tourist destination and one of the world’s most beautiful cities is also putting massive energy into doing its bit for the future of the planet. Now Cape Town’s green efforts are being recognised on an international scale.

Two years ago, the Mother City launched the Green Goal 2010 Programme to counteract the environmental impacts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and even before the kick-off whistle blows its effects are already being felt. The Cape Town Green Map (at identifies the city’s green spaces, as well as businesses that are reducing their carbon emissions and which practise fair trade, while the accommodation sector is required to meet at least four of eight new national environmental standards, including energy saving, recycling and water-wise gardening. Cape Town Tourism meanwhile, is rolling out its Code of Responsible Conduct for visitors and the tourism industry, emphasising respect for the environment, buying locally and legally and sensitivity to cultural diversity.

Other projects under way, or in the pipeline, include an alternative water sources programme for the irrigation of Greenpoint Common next to Cape Town Stadium; a R4.6-million undertaking to use Atlantic seawater to air-condition the retail sector of the V&A Waterfront; the establishment of the Peninsula’s Soetwater resort – known for its biodiversity and its socio-cultural importance as the province’s newest coastal conservancy – and the city’s plans to sell Green Electricity Certificates to consumers, allowing them to buy energy generated by the R70-million Darling Wind Farm on the R27 West Coast Road.

These and other green initiatives earned Cape Town the 2009 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in the Best Destination category. The Mother City, which beat out 35 other nominees in this category, was cited by the judges for taking “responsibility for identifying and prioritising local issues from a responsible tourism perspective”. The central tenet of the awards is that all types of tourism can and should be operated in a manner that respects and benefits destinations and local people.

The Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards recognises best practice responsible tourism programmes employed by tourism business. Currently in its ninth year, the awards are aligned with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s code of ethics and have played an important role in creating awareness of the importance of environmental management in tourism. Entries for these awards are now open to tourism businesses. Entries close on July 31 2010. For more information on how to enter, visit

“The tourism landscape is changing and the call to rethink our ecological practices is louder than ever,” says Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

“So much of what attracts people to Cape Town is the abundant natural beauty of our landscape and, as the custodians of this heritage, we’re leading our industry to a responsible tourism future.”


For further information about the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town or Cape Town Tourism, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove, on, or call +27 (0) 21 487 6800.

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