You may have heard of Fair Trade products like coffee, chocolate and fruit, but what is Fair Trade Tourism? Country Life contributor Nancy Richards has a chat with Jane Edge, Fair Trade Tourism’s managing director, to understand this unique tourism concept.
Fair Trade Tourism 101
What and who benefits from Fair Trade Tourism (FTT)?
Given the rise in numbers of tourists and their high carbon footprint, to eco-sensitive areas where exploitation can occur in particular, the planet and the people.
Who is FTT certified?
Over 200 places and services in eight African countries including Namibia, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Seychelles, with the majority in South Africa – from 5-star to backpackers.
Who can apply for FTT certification?
Accommodation, tourism facilities, food services, activities, attractions and volunteer programmes. Small outfits who don’t have resources to be fully compliant, can take a membership option offering training and mentorship.
What does compliance entail?
There are over 230 compliance criteria based on our six principles: fair share, fair say, respect, reliability, transparency and sustainability. There is on-site auditing every three years, so certification requires serious, long-term commitment.
Where and why did Fair Trade start?
The Fair Trade story goes way back to the 70s. It was established as an international movement to ensure workers in developing nations that produced goods like coffee, tea and chocolate for developed countries experienced better working conditions and wages than that of the past. It encouraged trading partners to allow workers a stake in the business and that they and their communities weren’t exploited. The concept grew to include craft workers before Fair Trade was extended to tourism in 2003. This concept was birthed right here in South Africa and Grootbos Private Nature Reserve was one of the first to be fully certified in 2006.
“These days travellers at all levels are more eco-conscious and concerned about the impact being made on the environment, people and animals than ever before – especially those from the global north who are demanding a sustainable stamp. It’s a huge driving force,” says Jane. “Everyone makes claims, but who’s to know how credible they are unless they open themselves to scrutiny.”
To find out more about Fair Trade Tourism, visit their website or call them on 012 342 2945.
Words Nancy Richards