Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) the Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, have been working together to produce a new toolkit for tourism businesses – ‘Keep It Real South Africa’. The new product 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 was launched by Fair Trade Tourism at INDABA 2014. MICExchange spoke to Fair Trade Tourism about how they are impacting tourism in South Africa.
Jennifer Serif (Executive Director) and Emilie Hagedoorn (Sales Manager) of Fair Trade Tourism told MICExchange how the concept of Fair Trade works for both the community and businesses. Emilie Hagedoorn said, “.. internally the business become smarter about how they operate..“. When asked how business are using the FTT brand, Emilie noted that business usually say that “ .. it makes me look good to the outside world, I can use it as a marketing tool, but whats more beneficial, it makes me run my business in a better way.”
The basic aim of FTT is to make tourism more sustainable by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits. By promoting awareness about responsible tourism to travellers and assisting tourism businesses to operate in a more sustainabe manner, all parties winn, the traveller, the community and the business. This is achieved by a Fair Trade Tourism certification programme across southern Africa.
Tourism businesses that adhere to the FTT standard use the FTT label as a way of signifying their commitment to fair and responsible tourism. This includes fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing and operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.
By selecting an FTT-certified business, travellers can both make a statement of their ethical standpoint and be assured that their holiday benefits local communities and economies by selecting a business that operated in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Funding for social, environmental or economic development projects is created through products such as the Fairtrade premium and The FTT Development Fund. These funds are craeted by premiums paid on top of the agreed Fairtrade price. The Fairtrade system paid EUR 65 million to producers worldwide from such funds.