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The 1996 White Paper on Development & Promotion of tourism in South Africa clearly states that responsible tourism should underlie each and every tourism activity within the country.  Therefore through the application of responsible tourism, South Africa will be able to develop the tourism sector as a national priority in a sustainable manner.  

One of the instruments that assist and reinforce the principle of responsible tourism the application of National Responsible Tourism Standard and, S.A has developed and launched the SANS 1162 that was approved by the South African Bureau of Standards.  NDT has entered into an agreement with the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), an agency of the Department of Trade & Industry for the implementation of the accreditation system.  

In terms of the Accreditation Act (Act No. 19 of 2006),  section 4(1) of the Accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice; the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) is the only recognised national body carrying out accreditations in terms of conformity assessments.  SANAS will therefore accredit certification bodies conveying formal demonstration of competence to carry out SANS 1162 conformity assessment of tourism businesses.


Although there are some admirable private sector and civil society driven efforts to promote Responsible Tourism, prior to the development SANS 1162 there was a lack of harmonisation in sustainability certification and labelling in the industry.  That confused visitors and the tourism industry, it created a space for abuse and green-washing, and puts the integrity and reliability of destination South Africa at risk.  If a tourism business claims that it is committed to responsible tourism, we need to know that they apply a minimum standard that we can trust and their claim have been independently verified by a third party in the form of a certification body utilizing independent assessors. The objective of certification is therefore:

  • First and foremost, independent third party verification that a tourism business comply with requirements of SANS 1162.
  • Easier for consumers/tour operators to understand what “responsible tourism” labels mean.
  • Credibility of labels and of the destination
  • Assurance that service providers are competent and professional
  • Assurance that tourism businesses meet SANS 1162 standards
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