Wilderness Safaris, based in Botswana, operates in seven African countries and received the honour for driving down bottled water consumption, thereby not just reducing plastic waste, but also the greenhouse gases emitted in its transportation.
The awards were sponsored by Cape Town tourism investment and promotion agency Wesgro and organised by Better Tourism Africa. The judges said the winner set an example to the industry “and challenges the industry to do far more”.
It added: “The industry needs to take much more vigorous action to reduce its water consumption; the resilience of individual businesses and the sector requires it.”
Wilderness Safaris also picked up the top prize in the Global Goals category.
Other category winners were Kenya’s Basecamp Explorer for Responsible Cultural Experience; North Island Seychelles for Best Aquatic Species and Habitat Conservation; and Spier Wine Farm (South Africa) for Decent Work and Social Inclusion.
Harold Goodwin, judging panel chair, said: “All of those long-listed should be recognised as having made a significant contribution and be proud of what they have achieved.”
He added that judges looked for winners who might educate and inspire others, challenging the industry to achieve more by demonstrating what can be done by businesses and organisations to realise the ambition of responsible tourism. “That ambition is simply put: to use tourism to make better places for people to live in. This also benefits the industry: great places to live are great places to visit.”