Goukamma CapeNature reserves have become the first tourism products in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to have been awarded the prestigious ECO Certification by Ecotourism Australia.
Ecotourism Australia is represented in southern Africa through an exclusive agreement with Eco-tourism Africa, a COMET Corporation initiative.
The ECO Certification Program was developed to address genuine nature and ecotourism operators - guided by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria.
CEO of CapeNature Dr Razeena Omar explained that the award is a huge honour to CapeNature, ecotourism and sustainability within in South Africa.
The ECO Certification program provides travellers with the assurance that all certified products within the awarded areas are supported by strong, well-managed sustainable practices and high-quality nature-based tourism.
ECO Certification is product-specific and the following CapeNature products have been certified:
• Goukamma Nature Reserve for its self-catering accommodation;
• Kogelberg Nature Reserve for the Oudebosch self-catering accommodation, its hiking trails and birdwatching available at the Stony Point penguin colony;
• Robberg Nature Reserve for its array of hiking trails.
Chief Executive of Ecotourism Australia, Rod Hillman commended CapeNature for being responsible members of South Africa's tourism industry to benefit the community and environment "whilst providing enjoyable and meaningful experiences for their visitors."
“I commend your leadership in becoming the first organisation in South Africa to gain eco-certification. "
Dr Omar explained that CapeNature recognises the need to develop products and activities which highlight South Africa's natural assets - placing protected areas in the spotlight to make them become sought after tourist attractions.
From left to right: CapeNature Tourism Manager Ramese Mathews, CapeNature Executive Director: Marketing & Eco-tourism Sheraaz Ismail, CapeNature Chief Executive Officer Dr Razeena Omar, Comet Corporation Managing Director Bruce See (representing Eco-tourism Africa).