17 May 2013

Imvelo Awards boost for small businesses

The Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism are extending their reach to ensure both large and small organisations are recognised for their contribution to responsible tourism.

Eddy Khosa, chairman of FEDHASA Eddy Khosa, chairperson of Fedhasa

In the past, the playing field was not entirely level for all organisations that wanted to compete, with smaller or independent organisations pitted against major players. – Eddy Khosa, Fedhasa chairperson

For the first time since the inception of the Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism 12 years ago, the six award categories will have two prize winners each.

This will enable like-sized businesses to compete against each other, rather than a small business with fewer resources competing against larger organisations.

Eddy Khosa, chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) – the custodians of the Imvelo Awards – said the need for a bold restructuring of the Imvelo Awards was the result of discussions between Fedhasa, the National Department of Tourism and other partners about recognising both big and small operators in the tourism hospitality sector.

‘In the past, the playing field was not entirely level for all organisations that wanted to compete, with smaller or independent organisations pitted against major players. Last year we started this process with two winners in two of the categories – Best Social Involvement Programme and Best Practice: Economic Impact. After careful consideration it was deemed fair to extend the practice across all the prize categories,’ he explained.

Khosa also noted that the number of entries into the Imvelo Awards increases every year, signifying a growing appreciation in the industry of the value of environmentally friendly practices.

‘Imvelo has become a benchmark in this regard. We trust this year will see a higher level of enthusiasm for the awards and a greater number of entries, with the number of winners having doubled and small and large organisations being judged separately,’ he commented.

The Imvelo Awards will once again award tourism businesses for sustained responsible practices within their operations, taking into account their contributions to sustaining their natural, social and economic environments.

Awards will be presented in six categories, and an overall winner chosen. The Imvelo Awards categories are:

  • Best Social Involvement Programme
  • Best Practice: Economic Impact
  • Best Overall Environmental Management System
  • Best Single Resource Management Programme – with sub-categories for energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste management
  • Most Empowered Tourism Business
  • Investor in People Award

In addition to the awards, Imvelo now incorporates the newly launched Responsible Tourism Aftercare Programme. 

Fedhasa introduced the programme to ensure its involvement in responsible tourism practices extends beyond the recognition of best practice. The Responsible Tourism Aftercare Programme aims to assist and support businesses that show a willingness but are lacking in skills or resources to achieve the required responsible tourism standards.

‘In 2013,’ says Khosa, ‘we will select a handful of qualifying establishments in different categories to be included in the programme. A baseline study will be conducted on each establishment selected, which will be followed by improvement plans to achieve the desired results. A variety of approaches will be adopted during the implementation phase, including workshops and mentorships.’

The programme will also look at various ways to assist the industry in changing from dated practices to adopting a responsible tourism mindset in all facets of business.

Khosa is encouraging all organisations in the tourism sector – large and small – to assess their environmental management practices for sustainable growth and enter the Imvelo Awards.

Entries for the Imvelo Awards 2013 are now open, and the final date of submission is 31 July 2013. Entry forms can be obtained from Fedhasa at +27 (0)86 133 3628, and also on the Imvelo Awards website, once construction on the site has been completed.