The Alliance’s programme of work is overseen by its Executive Committee which is comprised of an overall Chair and Vice Chair, as well as a Secretariat.
Alliance’s programme of work is currently organised into five thematic areas, each with a Portfolio Committee (PFC). Each PFC is overseen by a duly appointed Chairperson.
Membership roles and commitments are based signed submissions which clearly indicate duties and responsibilities.
Name: Hazel Milne
Organization: Eco Awards Namibia
Position: Program Coordinator
After qualifying as a Social Worker (Honns B.Diac. UNISA – 1988) Hazel worked at the Rundu State Hospital, right on the Namibian/Angolan border. After moving to Walvis Bay on the Namibian coast, Hazel soon became intrigued by the fascinating Namib Desert – Namibia’s “Living Desert” – with all its interesting life forms and dynamics. This is when she decided to pursue a career as a naturalist guide. She completed her Namibian NATH (Namibian Academy for Tourism and Hospitality) guiding qualification and then spent several years working as a freelance guide, travelling throughout Namibia’s untouched wilderness areas.
The majority of those years were spent guiding mobile camping expeditions for &Beyond, and this is what inspired her to complete & Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training Programme at Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Soon after, she was appointed to senior guide for & Beyond’s Expeditions in Namibia. She progressed to Operations Manager and became responsible for the Environmental Audits for the company.
Around 2008, she heard about Namibia’s only Rewards Program for Sustainable Tourism, and volunteered on the Management Committee of Eco Awards Namibia. At this stage, NATH approached her to write a Training Manual on Sustainable Tour Guiding Operations, which was followed by a course to lecture this subject. During 2011, she took on the position as Program Coordinator for Eco Awards Namibia, which enabled her to network with the Sustainable Tourism Network Southern Africa (STNSA), which has evolved into the Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa (“the Alliance). In 2012, she was also approached by the NTA (Namibia Training Authority) to serve on the Technical Working Group to rewrite the Namibian Tourist Guiding Unit Standards and successfully completed their Assessor Course to Assessed Namibian Tour Guides (to attain the National Guiding Qualification).
Advocacy and Lobbying Portfolio Committee
Name: Bekithemba Langalibalele
Organization: National Department of Tourism
Position: Director: Responsible Tourism
As a Social Science Graduate from the University of Cape Town, Bekithemba received training in Marketing and Financial management from the AAA School of Advertising and UCT Graduate School of Business. Having started his career with Old Mutual, he quickly rose through the ranks to become an Account Executive in Gauteng managing a multi-billion client portfolio responsible for business development and client services. He was later Director of Sales and Marketing at Thebe Investments’ Financial Services Division managing sales and marketing teams. He was the first General Manager Marketing at the National Empowerment Fund responsible for re-branding the organisation following the name change from NEF Corporation to National Empowerment Fund.
Bekithemba spent five years at the Western Cape’s Destination Marketing Organisation (CTRU) serving as convenor of the SoccerEx Exhibition 2007 and 2008 and the Annual Western Cape provincial Access Destination Workshop from 2005 to 2007. At CTRU he gained valuable destination marketing experience both locally and internationally. There he oversaw signing of the first marketing partnership agreement of the coastal destinations, namely Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. He was invited to serve on the Boards of the Castle of Good Hope Control Board and FEDHASA Cape. He became deputy Chairperson of FEDHASA Cape in 2007. Bekithemba is currently the Director: Responsible Tourism at the National Department of Tourism since 2009.
Market Development Portfolio Committee
Name: Sonja Gottlebe
Organization: Boogie Pilgrim
Sonja Ranarivelo is the owner of BOOGIE PILGRIM (tour operator) based in Madagascar. She previously worked as a Manager at Go To Madagascar and a travelwriter for Go To Madagascar magazine. Sonja’s extensive field experience in Madagascar has resulted in her multisectorial knowledge of the tourism industry, sustainable tourism expertise, and Malagasy institutional knowledge. Sonja’s professional history also includes the following positions :
- Vice Chairman and Chairman of TOP (Tour Operateurs de Madagascar) 5 years (past)
- Vice Chairman and Chairman of GOTO (Groupement des Operateurs du Tourisme) 6 years (past)
- Administrator at Maison du Tourisme (National Tourism Board) 2 years (past)
- Administrator at INTH (Institut National Tourisme et Hotellerie) 2 years (past)
- Administrator at EDBM (Economic Development Board of Madagascar) 3 years (past)
- Administrator at Air Madagascar 4 months (past)
- Member of the National Tourism Board (current)
- Administrator and founder of SOLIDIS (Financial institution – current)
Standards and Best Practice Portfolio Committee
Name: Heidi van der Watt
Organisation: Better Tourism Africa
Position: Senior Consultant
Heidi is a Responsible Tourism specialist working with tourism businesses, tourism organisations and destination management authorities to plot and implement their sustainability journeys. Her experience in this field is globally relevant, with projects in 12 countries. She is the published author of “Developing Tourism in South Africa” 2nd edition, with an academic background in Town and Regional Planning.
Heidi holds a number of qualifications including a BA in Human Geography (Urban Settlements and Economic Geography) and Sociology from the University of Stellenbosch. Heidi has a Masters in Town and Regional Planning and also holds a Post _Graduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation (Cum laude) from the same university.
Heidi’s commitment to sustainability is rooted in her belief that each individual has a custodial responsibility towards the natural and cultural resources bequeathed to us, and a duty of care for people, especially those who are less privileged in terms of access to education, skills, economic resource and economic opportunity.
Impact Analysis Portfolio Committee
Name: Dr Anna Spencely
Organisation: STAND cc
- Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group.
- Member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
- Senior Research Fellow at the School of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg.
- Director of the INTASAVE Partnership Trust, a not-for-profit organisation working on tourism and climate change in Africa.
- Editorial board of the Journal for Sustainable Tourism, the Journal of Educational Travel and also the journal of South African National Parks: Koedoe.
In addition, she was a founding director of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and sits on the Group of Experts for the Global Partnership on Sustainable Tourism.
Anna is the co-editor of a Special Edition of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, on Tourism and Poverty Reduction. She is also the editor of the book “Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for Conservation and Development” and also co-editor of “Evolution and Innovation in Wildlife Conservation“.
Better Tourism Africa (previously the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – South Africa), was established in 2006 to lobby on behalf of the continent’s responsible tourism community. We believe tourism should help build prosperous and inclusive local economies, healthy natural environments, and celebrate and preserve cultures. Through our continent-wide network of activists, we advocate and agitate for responsible tourism. We work with government and the private sector in Africa to implement the objectives of Responsible Tourism as described in the Cape Town Declaration