The need for effective crisis planning and better liaison between governments, businesses and local communities were highlighted at the African Resilience Summit.

The summit was part of the Africa Tourism Association’s world tourism conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The event – held at Constitution Hill, the former prison which held Nelson Mandela – emphasised the need for resiliency planning for crisis and sustainability issues.

This featured a debate on the lessons learned from the Cape Town water crisis, which resulted in a 60% reduction of local water usage.

Dr Lee Miles, professor of crisis and disaster management at Bournemouth University, led a session on the importance of planning to manage a crisis, be it man-made or natural disaster.

This reinforced the need for adapting plans to individual markets, training and community engagement.

The need for further collaboration from governments across Africa to develop funding mechanisms and policies was emphasised.

That would help showcase cultural heritage, create people-to-people programmes and encourage public-private partnerships.

A presentation of the work being conducted by the all-woman Black Mamba anti-poaching unit in South Africa was a key part of the conference.

With wildlife interests accounting for 90% of all tourism to Africa, six members of the unit were forthright in their warnings about the future of the continent, the need for community engagement and educational initiatives.

International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPTT) Awards winners were also presented after 60 companies were nominated.

The results were:

  • Resilient Tourism Community award – Recognising a local enterprise, region or NGO which has developed community-based tourism projects creating substantial social impact, through job creation, training or community development, sharing their heritage and enriching the tourism sector.

Winners: S.A. Apartheid Museum (South Africa), for its integral teaching of the global community about apartheid and for its tireless work to engage many aspects of the community.

Northern Rangelands Trust (Kenya), for its support of the 39 community member conservancies across northern and coastal Kenya, incorporating 42,000 square kilometres and 18 ethnic groups. Enabling communities to govern their wild spaces, identify and lead development projects, build sustainable economies linked to conservation, spearhead peace efforts to mend years of conflict, and shape government regulations to support it all.

  • Resilient Tourism Business award – Identifying a business which has either achieved sustainable long-term exponential growth or practices that involve and invest heavily in human capital

Winners: African Link Tourism (South Africa), for its work in forging partnerships with several peace organisations to present The Freedom Route: following the footprints of Mandela, Gandhi, John Dube, Alan Paton and Albert Luthuli. The Route highlights the path of the Fathers of the Nation in South Africa, the struggles of the nation during the apartheid era and serves to promote heritage to the local communities and to preserve indigenous culture with a focus on social cohesion.

The Asilia Group (Kenya and Tanzania), for making bold, and often pioneering, investments into areas of Kenya and Tanzania that are ecologically and economically vulnerable. Turning these areas into viable conservation economies, benefiting both local communities and the environment.

  • Resilient Efforts Through Cultural Diversity and Environmental Sensitivity award – Recognising a local business, region or NGO that celebrates its cultural diversity through a proven approach that incorporates human interaction as an asset that promotes relationships that are nurtured and promoted through sustainable tourism.

Winners: Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (South Africa), for its inspiring work in the local community to ensure engagement with wildlife and sustainable conservation of the many threatened species.

African Bush Camps Foundation (Zimbabwe), for its innovative work which is changing how safari companies sell their product and how they will be required to work with communities going forward.

  • Change Maker in Tourism award – Awarded to an individual who has made a significant change towards tourism either from within or outside the travel sector. Someone who has gone beyond the call of duty and spear-headed a new idea or product that brings change to the tourism industry in South Africa or to the continent of Africa.

Winners: Craig Rueben Spencer (South Africa), Founder of the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit, Bush Babies and many other community-based initiatives which have shown exemplary concern for their communities and environments.

Alain St Ange (Seychelles), a pillar in the travel sector, former tourism minister for the Seychelles, entrepreneur and travel advocate who has responded to the challenges faced with new initiatives and developed programmes that have established long term resiliency.

The next Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council summit takes place in London on November 7.