• Sabi Sabi

    Photo credit by Sabi Sabi Game Reseve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

  • Tswalu

    Photo credit by Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

  • IMG_3851

    Photo credit by !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, Western Cape, South Africa

  • Amakhala

    Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Portfolio comittee chairs

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
Position: Owner

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: International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) South 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
Position: Founder/Director

Dr Anna Spenceley is a sustainable tourism specialist based in South Africa. She is the founder STAND cc, and her affiliations include the following:

  1. Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group.
  2. Member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication  and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
  3. Senior Research Fellow at the School of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg.
  4. Director of the INTASAVE Partnership Trust, a not-for-profit organisation working on tourism and climate change in Africa.
  5. 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“.

Copyright © 2018 Sustainable Tourism Alliance Africa.