Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism

Cape Town won the Best Destination category in the 2009 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards. Cape Town is the first city to win in this category, bearing testament to its ability to lead the way in terms of global responsible tourism.

You can read what Cape Town Tourism are doing to become more responsible here. Information on Cape Town’s journey to becoming a responsible destination can be found at



The tips below will help you to experience and enjoy our destination responsibly. For more information on responsible tourism businesses please contact +27 21 487 6800 or email

10 tips towards being responsible in our communities

  1. Research the culture of the area you intend to visit before arriving at your destination.
  2. Talk to locals, employ local tour guides and stay in accommodation establishments that have invested in the local community.
  3. Learn some of the local language – a simple greeting and a "thank you" in the languages of our people will see you embraced as a guest and not just a visitor.
  4. Respect the dignity and privacy of others – please ask permission before you take a photo.
  5. Rather than giving money to beggars and street children, make an effort to donate to a local charity that supports community projects. Ask Cape Town Tourism to recommend a reputable charity.
  6. Purchase souvenirs directly from community markets and crafters so that the money goes directly to local businesses.
  7. Experience local and regional cuisine, gaining an insight into the culture of the area. You will also be supporting the local economy.
  8. Practise safe and responsible sex. Be vigilant about protecting children from exploitation and prostitution.
  9. Question establishments where children of school-going age are working.
  10. Bargaining for goods may not be appropriate behaviour but if the price is negotiable, pay a price that is fair for the seller and maker.

10 tips towards being environmentally responsible

  1. Please use water as efficiently as possible. Drink tap water. South Africa’s tap water quality is ranked as third best overall in the world. Do not leave your towels in your hotel room to be washed if they have only been used once. Try to use biodegradable shampoos and soaps.
  2. Dispose of matches and cigarette butts in the bins provided to avoid starting fires in ecologically sensitive areas.
  3. Please use electricity as efficiently as possible. Switch off the lights, electric fan, air conditioner and television when you are not in your room.
  4. Do not approach or feed baboons. They are wild and potentially dangerous.
  5. Do not take natural keepsakes, such as shells and indigenous flowers, when spending time outdoors.
  6. When driving or hiking, stick to marked paths and roads.
  7. Make sure the seafood you want to buy and eat is not on the list of endangered species. Text (or SMS) the name of the fish to +27 79 499 8795 to receive an answer within seconds.
  8. Dispose of rubbish carefully, recycle where possible and reuse your beverage bottles and shopping bags.
  9. Use of public transport when possible, or take a walking tour.
  10. Holiday closer to home, offset your carbon footprint by planting a tree, or buying local produce – support some of the great local organic markets in Cape Town.

StreetSmart SA

StreetSmart SA is a community initiative, raising funds for street children through participating restaurants by giving their diners the opportunity to add a voluntary R5 donation to the table’s bill. The donations go directly to established organisations providing services to street children and children at risk. Eating and donating at a StreetSmart restaurant is the responsible way to help a street child. Dine and Give responsibly!