Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA)

17 August 2012

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable tourism development.

We do this through awareness raising, research and advocacy, capacity building and by facilitating the world’s first (and still only) Fair Trade Tourism certification programme.

FTTSA awards the use of special label to qualifying businesses as a way of signifying their commitment to Fair Trade criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing, fair operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and environment.

By electing to stay at or use the services of an FTTSA-certified establishment, tourists are assured that their travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

To see the currently certified businesses visit www.fairtourismsa.org.za or review the Fair Trade Travel Guide online.

Research points to growing international demand particularly in Europe and North America for both responsible tourism and fairly traded products (such as Fairtrade coffee and similar). Research has found that 44% of US and European customers said that if a company offered a sustainable holiday option, they would be interested. 44% also said they have a better image of a company that actively invest in environmental/social initiatives (http://www.sustainabletourism.net/resources.html).

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) is a unique concept that marries both trends to support income and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people and communities seeking their fair share of the growing tourism industry in southern Africa. This is achieved by certifying tourism products in tourist destinations and making these accessible to both:

  • Fair-minded independent travellers; and
  • Tour operators looking to improve their sustainability performance and sell packaged travel to sustainability-savvy consumers.
Holiday packages that meet the FTT standard are also certified and labelled, creating a unique selling point in the market and signalling to customers that travel is organised in a manner consistent with Fair Trade principles and beneficial to workers, communities, small businesses and the environment.

Fair Trade Tourism holiday packages benefit product owners and tourism workers in South Africa by requiring long term trading relationships, full prepayment and binding cancellation agreements. An additional amount, put in a Development Fund, will be channelled directly into a central fund and used for development projects across South Africa.

Fair Trade Tourism holiday packages will benefit small businesses and workers by guaranteeing:

  • A fair share of the profits from tourism;
  • Fair wages and working conditions;
  • Long-term trading security;
  • Community development opportunities; and
  • Access to new markets
For tourists, this ground-breaking initiative offers a possibility to extend their ethical purchase decisions beyond everyday products such as coffee, tea and fruit to also include holidays that guarantee a better life for people in the South.

Packages are currently available in Switzerland, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands with further packages currently being developed both in existing markets as well as in France and Sweden. To see the currently certified packages visit www.fairtourismsa.org.za.

During 2012-2016 FTTSA will transform itself from a hybrid certification-cum-development organisation into a dynamic, professional market development organisation with one or more outsourced certification service providers. Separating certification from market development activities is consistent with international best practice and engenders various opportunities for the market development organisation to facilitate BDS and other services directly and indirectly to certified businesses, without conflict of interest.

In addition, FTTSA is currently embarking on a growth and expansion plan and it is expected that by 2016, Fair Trade Tourism will also include product and holiday certification in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Tanzania.

Connect with FTTSA on ATTA's Member Online Community, The HUB.