Fair Trade Tourism was established in 2003 (originally as Fair Trade Tourism in South Africa) and the organisation has now certified dozens of responsible tourism destinations and activities. It guarantees that members pay good wages, recruit local staff, buy local goods, adhere to environmental stewardship principles, and generally operate on an ethical basis.

Did you know?

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa's standards are aligned to global best practice.

Fair Trade is a concept most people link to commodities like coffee or bananas.

Any goods with a Fair Trade label come with the noble assurance that workers are treated well and paid a living wage, that business practices are ethical and transparent, and that environmental stewardship is encouraged.

South Africa, though, was the first country to apply this concept to tourism operators and destinations.

Since 2003, the Fair Trade certification had become a sought-after label for those who choose a more socially and environmentally responsible way of travelling and exploring the country. Now operating as Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) the NGO has expanded its operation to include eight countries in the region, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

FTT-accredited operators vary from township bicycle tours to golf courses and boat-based whale-watching; from voluntourism programmes to luxury guesthouses.

Among the first operators to be certified was Calabash Tours in Port Elizabeth. Owner Paul Mediema has long been passionate about this new way.

"We're seeing a shift in tourism. There's a real green consciousness rising in the world. It's no longer enough to sit by the pool, drift around and drink pina colada. Travellers want to engage more. They're thinking about how they live, how they travel, how they can do something constructive."

Simply staying at a destination accredited by FTT ensures that you are making a positive difference, supporting responsible travel through social, economic and environmental best practices.

Fair wages and good working conditions are among the first things FTT assessors and the trademark panel seek. Others include local employment and procurement, training and empowerment of staff, the promotion of local tourism attractions, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

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Who to contact

Fair Trade in Tourism SA
Tel: +27 (0) 12 342 2945/ 3642
Email: info@fairtradetourismsa.org.za