Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) and Dr Xavier Font at Respondeco (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK), experts on marketing and communicating sustainability in tourism, have been working together on an exciting new toolkit for tourism businesses called Keep It Real South Africa. It is modelled on existing toolkits under license from VisitEngland developed for England, Wales and Ireland, to help tourism businesses communicate more effectively about responsible tourism. The toolkit will be launched on Saturday 10 May during the Networking Event hosted by Fair Trade Tourism at INDABA 2014.
Why a toolkit?
Being FTT-certified is a great achievement but making the most of all the wonderful things FTT-certified businesses do to take care of people and planet and leveraging that same FTT-certification is an art in itself. Many responsible tourism businesses (both FTT-certified and non-certified) underestimate how hard this type of communication is and often miss opportunities to really make what they do relevant to guests.
The FTT case studies
The Keep It Real South Africa toolkit features responsible tourism communication case studies from FTT-certified businesses such as accommodation, activity providers, visitor attractions and a tour operator. All the case studies can easily be copied by other tourism businesses. The toolkit will be made available on the FTT website and covers 5 chapters:
- Who do I tell?
- Why do I tell?
- What do I tell?
- Where do I tell?
- When do I tell?
The toolkit provided the FTT-certified businesses with an opportunity to get valuable feedback from responsible tourism communication experts and share their communication examples with the rest of the industry. The following three FTT-certified businesses won a website analysis report by Respondeco: Three Trees at Spioenkop, Amakhala Game Reserve and Mashovhela Bush Lodge, which will review how they communicate sustainability practices to market their business.
Says Xavier Font: “I am very excited to find such excellent sustainability practices in South Africa, and to look for ways to help them learn how to better communicate sustainability to customers. The potential is enormous to convert sustainability into a meaningful customer experience, if we learn how to market it.”
Says Kathy Bergs: “FTT is excited about the opportunity that this toolkit provides FTT-certified businesses to more effectively communicate the amazing work they are doing in operating their businesses ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”