Mossel Bay announces Responsible Tourism Photo of the Year

The winners in Mossel Bay’s first annual Mossel Bay Toyota Responsible Tourism Photo Safari have been announced.

Mossel Bay’s Responsible Tourism Photo of the Year: Fiona Ayerst’s “Look Dad Shark.”

The Safari formed part of Responsible Tourism Week – an international on-line collaboration loosely facilitated by one of the world’s oldest responsible tourism web sites: Planeta.com.

The winning image – “Look Dad Shark” – was made by professional photographer Fiona Ayerst, who lives and works in Mossel Bay. It shows her husband, shark researcher Ryan Johnson, and their son, Finn, watching a smooth-hound shark (Mustelus mustelus) in the Oceans Aquarium at The Point in Mossel Bay.

“We had about eight judges trying to decide which images should take the prizes,” said organiser Sean Snyman, a sales executive at Mossel Bay Toyota, which sponsored the event.

Although the Safari itself took place on a Saturday morning in February, the participants agreed between themselves that images submitted for the competition need not have been taken on that particular day.

“What was important to us was that the photos should convey the essence of responsible tourism in Mossel Bay – and responsible tourism is defined as tourism that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit,” said Mr. Snyman.

“This event definitely succeeded in its aim because it generated a body of work that helps people to see the town in new and exciting ways.”

Mossel Bay town councillor and Mossel Bay Tourism board member Emil Scheepers, congratulated the winners, and said that Ms. Ayerst’s photograph told a touching and important story.

“Sharks don’t often get the best press, but they are powerful symbols of the marine environment – and the environment as a whole is the foundation on whichMosselBay’s tourism industry has been built.

“This picture of Ryan and Finn says so much about why it’s important to conserve our natural resources for future generations,” he said.

Ms. Ayerst said that she was honoured that the judges chose her image.

“We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly visual in the way it consumes its messages, and I’m happy that this picture has been recognised as being able to make a contribution to the cause of marine conservation – which is my passion in life.

“I try to make sure that the conservation message is clear in all my published works, and this award validates my efforts,” she said.

As her prize, Ms. Ayerst received a voucher for a weekend with her family at the Garden Route Game Lodge, outside Mossel Bay.

Mossel Bay Toyota’s Mossel Bay Responsible Tourism Photo Safari 2012 was judged in three categories. The results were:

PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS – Grand Prize: Fiona Ayerst – “Look Dad Shark”; first prize: Skydive Mossel Bay – “Skydiving overMosselBay;” second Louis Pieterse – “This little Tourist went to Market;” and third Louis Pieterse – “Summersault into summer.”

AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS – First: Tersia Marais – “Light in the Harbour;” second: Nade Welch – “Lighthouse over Big Blu;” third: Sean Snyman – “The Grave truth of our history.”

SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHERS – Winner: Werner Tessendorf (a visitor fromBloemfonteinwho joined the local photographers for the Safari) – “Hartenbos Camping in the Bay;” and runner-up Sean Snyman “The Point of the Day.”

All photos entered into the event can be viewed on flickr (search MosselBay) and the winning images have been uploaded to www.facebook.com/visitmosselbay

More information 

Responsible Tourism: www.planeta.com  

Mossel Bay: www.visitmosselbay.co.za and www.facebook.com/visitmosselbay

Fiona Ayerst: www.fionaayerst.com

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